On Becoming an Old Man

As of today, I have officially turned not only into my father, but into an old man as well.

Because I refuse to cut grass in anything other than an old pair of shoes, and since the soles of one of my last pairs of old tennis shoes separated, I was in quite a quandary. Though I hardly wear any of them, the shoes I searched through were just too good to suffer the wear and stains of the upcoming task.

Because my front lawn area faces north, and in spite of the fact it was one o’clock in the afternoon, the morning dew had shown no signs of drying. There is no sin so evil as ruining a decent pair of shoes.

Finally, in the recesses of my closet, I found a rather worn pair of black wing tip Oxfords—purchased years ago at the Salvation Army (because of the fact that they fit my size eleven feet as well as the $2.99 price). Granted, I never wore them due to the scuff marks and the start of a small hole in the sole near the big toe of the right foot. But these became the candidates of choice to enhance my sartorial foray to the front yard. As it was 82 degrees, I didn’t wish to sport long pants as befitting such style, and I only wear my white tube socks with holes in them (they’re still good!) so as not to stain a good pair.

Highlighted by an old white tee shirt and stained khaki shorts, my ensemble basked in the splendor of a newly-mown lawn that was as neat and trim as the pin-striped suit my shoes would have required.

Though my father never wore his wing tips to cut our old lawn, he did sport a favorite pair of brown slip-on “house shoes.” But his dark elastic socks did contrast nicely with his untanned bare legs. Every “old” man I ever saw while growing up cut their grass in similar fashion, and today I entered the hallowed ranks of those who came before me.

My father would be proud of me for my meticulous job. “Charles,” Mother would always say, as we were both Charles (Sr. and Jr.), “Leave those clippings, you don’t have to rake them.” OR “Don’t spend so much time edging.” Of course we ignored her and kept up our task, as I too now continue that tradition.

Perhaps now folks will understand why it takes me two hours to cut an 8 ft. x 32 ft. front yard. In my new official capacity as resident old man, as E. L. James noted, “If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.”