I’ve seen my dad mow the lawn a thousand times. Usually my brothers and I were waiting in the wings to play football on the freshly-cut theatre of dreams it created. My dad was usually a bit grumpy about this. Apparently our excessive footballing had created patches where grass was now impossible to cultivate. There is practically nothing more important to a Protestant Farmer than cultivation. Oh well – a dad’s gotta mow, a son’s gotta play…
After he’d mow the lawn he liked to sit for a bit – usually with his top off – and breathe in this world, rich in the smell of petrol and freshly cut warm grass. As far as I was concerned, there was no better time – or smell.
One of the last decent conversations I had with my dad was after he’d just mowed the lawn. We sat around and breathed in the smell of a warm Saturday evening, and my wife started asking questions. To my surprise, Dad started answering them with stories I’d never heard. Stories of playing the accordian in the Hillbilly band that toured Ulster in the days before I was born.
The curse of curiosity – like any great adventure – is that it happens when it happens. And while he was alive, I hadn’t really started the middle-aged journey of peeling back the layers to see what lies underneath and understand where it came from.
I’d love to have talked about all of this with him. But all I can do is continue his ritual of mowing the lawn on a Saturday, and breathing in the smell of freshly cut grass.
Ach away and boil yer heed – you seem to be unaware of the nonsense of which you speak, and it might improve things somewhat if you were to go some place else and give your head a bit more cooking as it seems underdone…
Yer head’s a marley – your head resembles a marble: There is the illusion of something going on in the middle, but really its pretty much transparent.