Thursday, September 9, 2010


>   For our honeymoon house, we rented (quite reasonably) a very old but very cozy farmhouse, on acreage with a small but pretty lake. The owner had moved to another state and didn't want the farmhouse standing empty. (That farmhouse still stands, beautifully restored and much enlarged---but the 30 acres have been split and the small lake has not existed for many years).
    We didn't live in that place for long, as much as we liked it. In winter, the old cold furnace had a ferocious apetite we simply couldn't afford, and it was a chore just to keep the house bearably warm on the coldest winter days.
    In summer and fall, however, it was a wonderful place to be. The acreage was a fine place for honeymooners to roam together, particularly people who enjoyed the outdoors as Bob and I always have.
    There was a sturdy barn on site, and one day Bob decided to give me shooting lessons with a target he had attached to the barn. I was an absolute failure at that; I actually couldn't even hit the barn---and the only gun he owned had such a kick it knocked me over every time (thin as I was in those days). 
    The tractor, however, was another story. The landlord had left it with us for mowing purposes, and I easily and happily learned to run it. Early in our marriage, as a matter of fact, I became Bob Moore's "lawn boy. " In our second home, I mowed the lawn with a push-mower, but after awhile he bought me a tractor.
    I've always found it quite relaxing to sit on a tractor and mow, and I love the meditative qualities of that pursuit. To this day, if I'm trying to solve a mental block, I can get on the tractor and mow... and any clouds inside my mind will clear miraculously.
    I do remember, though, that in a certain period in Concord, I was one of the few women who boldly mowed by tractor. Once, in fact, I was stopped in that work and chastised by a well-dressed woman in an expensive car, who said to me, "Don't you know that women of your character don't do such things? Much less right out in the open where they can be seen by passers-by; mowing and tractors are men's work. Your husband should be ashamed."
    I jumped back on my tractor and ignored her, but I commenced to wonder what "women of my character" were, exactly. And I resented that something I enjoyed so much was to be relegated only to men. I knew my husband never seemed to be ashamed of his tractor-mowing wife; and if he had been, I would still have fought to be the one who drove the tractor. Of course I kept on with my mowing, and I still do mow.
   Over time, my tractors became newer... easier... more comfortable. My husband often joked, and still does, that it would have been cheaper to keep his wife in jewels than it has been to keep her in tractors.
   Even in this special week, you may have spotted me mowing our valley acreage. With a happy smile on my face!

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