Friday, March 23, 2007

Damn Right It's Spring Again

It was already time to get out the lawnmower last week, but I couldn't get it to start. After checking the gas and the oil, the only other thing I knew how to do was to replace the spark plug. I took the old plug to the local lawn equipment repair shop.

"What kind of engine did that come from?" the shop owner queried.
"Tecumseh," I responded confidently, pretending I knew it well, though I had only noticed the manufacturer's name for the first time that morning.

"You sure it's a Tecumseh?" the owner asked, looking doubtfully at my spark plug. "Does it have the plastic air filter that you have to squeeze to take it off?"
"Yep," I replied evenly, silently realizing at that moment that the plastic appendage on the side of my mower's engine was the air filter.

Satisfied by my response, the repair shop owner rang up a new plug and advised me that if I still couldn't start my mower, I could remove that plastic filter and block the air intake with my thumb, thus temporarily flooding the engine with gas. This latter intervention brought my mower roaring back to life, and soon my Tecumseh and I were marching across the grass in geometric patterns, making deadheads of all the flowering weeds in our path.

The first notable Tecumseh in American history was a great Shawnee chief; but the most notorious was General William Tecumseh Sherman, whose march to the sea left Atlanta in flames and doused the spark of secession. The "war of Northern aggression" has never been forgotten in this part of the country. Georgia senators are presently considering a bill to designate the month of April as Confederate Heritage and History Month.

Atlanta's symbol is the phoenix, rising from the ashes (like Spring itself). And my daily travels in our fair suburbs often take me past Civil War battlegrounds and the sites of Fort Daniel and Fort Yargo. I thought about these things as my little Tecumseh and I mowed down weeds and grass like they were Rebel soldier boys.

Biz Markie: Spring Again

7 Comments:

At 3/23/2007 4:23 PM , Blogger Amy said...

Great post, Jon. "War of Northern Aggression," ha! I don't know if it's apocryphal, but one of my mother's friends who grew up in Georgia tells a story about when she was in grade school and the teacher asked the class to name the greatest president. She volunteered Abraham Lincoln and was promptly sent to the principal's office.

 
At 3/23/2007 8:35 PM , Blogger jon manyjars said...

Thanks, Amy! I believe your story. When I was in high school here in GA, we watched "Gone with the Wind" in US History class as if it were a documentary. One of the teachers who didn't like me said I was "either a Communist or a Catholic" -- which one did she think was worse?

 
At 3/25/2007 9:34 AM , Anonymous chris said...

Growing up I had to take a course called
Americanism vs Communism that was about as sophisticated as Duck and cover. One of my middle school teachers did in fact call it the "war of northern aggression"

Tecumseh motors are made in the wonderful town of Tecumseh Michigan, where my mother was born and raised. I own a tiny bit of Tecumseh products stock, you know to monetize my heritage. I apologize about the mower...

 
At 3/26/2007 7:30 AM , Blogger jon manyjars said...

Sounds like you learned your Americanism ALL TOO WELL, you fat bourgie capitalist bastard.

Ha! Take that! Feel the sting of my self-righteous moral outrage! There's more where that came from, I warn you! If you come back, I will taunt you again!

(No need to apologize about the mower, it's working fine.)

 
At 3/26/2007 2:43 PM , Anonymous Paula said...

What is a "lawn"? And why does one have to "mow" it?

 
At 3/27/2007 9:37 AM , Blogger jon manyjars said...

You poor city girl. Did they take all your trees and put them in a tree museum?

 
At 3/27/2007 8:24 PM , Blogger Disco:Very said...

Maybe Paula is from a desert, like I am. Our lawns are mostly cacti and dirt, no mowing necessary. Song choice: I would have also picked "Potholes In My Lawn" by De La Soul.

 

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