In the Yard and Under the Shrub

Winter’s coming…

I took over cutting the grass at my parents until Dad has circulation issues in his legs addressed. Before going further, let me establish that nonfiction is told at the peril of being cut out of a will. Fiction is a bit of truth surrounded by made up stuff. What follows is my version of fiction.

I’d have no problem cutting the grass if Dad didn’t have seventeen piles of junk to mow around. I must first do a sweep of the yard to check for bombs. No, my parents don’t own a pet. I mean real bombs. Dad could’ve come across one and saved it. His philosophy is, “I might need that someday.” For what? Are you going to toss it in the neighbor’s yard if one of their pool parties get out of hand?

The piles of lumber and buckets of water I get. They’re termite food and incubation units for mosquito larvae. I had to ask about the stack of I have no idea what in the corner of the yard.

“That’s tile.” Dad said.

“For what?”

“For a shower in the basement.”

“Why is it in the yard?” I said.

“Because I have a shower upstairs and why would I throw perfectly good tile away? You want it?”

“No thanks, and this pile?”

“Treated wood for the patio. I didn’t get around to it yet.”

Dad will be 79 years old this year and has eleven hobbies. I can’t see him building a patio in his spare time.

“What about those logs?”


The logs are actually trees. Firewood? Sure if you were a Stark and lived in Winterfell.

“What about the pile of rocks?”

“I finished the house and didn’t need them. I didn’t want to throw them away because I paid for them.”

Dad finished the house forty-four years ago.


“No oars.”

I guessed the pile of fire brick was destined to become an outdoor fireplace to roast a pig. Dad had the firewood for it. The huge beams were probably the frame work for a pole barn. The milk jugs? I didn’t ask. If all the junk was in one place, I wouldn’t have to mow an entire section of yard. Guess who’d have to move it?

As I rounded the corner, my mom’s feet were sticking out from under the rhododendron bush.

“What are you doing under there?” I said.

“I wanted to put more things under here for my fairy garden. I’m stuck.”

The fairy village is my fault. I trimmed the twenty foot rhododendron to look like something out of a fairytale. Mom felt she had to populate it.

I grabbed Mom’s feet and yank her out. There’s twigs in her hair and everywhere. She’ll probably be picking plant debris out of her underwear later.

“It doesn’t look good under there.”

I raked the leaves from under the bush. I’m supposing fairy folk are a tidy people. Then I rearranged an assortment of houses, fairies, and mushrooms. I picked plant debris out of my underwear later.

I know more stuff to mow around, but Mom’s a chocoholic. She shares her stash and it’s the good stuff not the junk I buy. Mom always has other goodies too when I visit. This may be the reason I consider cake an acceptable lunch substitute.

The fiction in this story? It was a canoe not a rowboat. Oh well, winter’s coming.

Published in Funny Times

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