By: Jana Adams
The Banks County News
April 16, 2003
Off to a not-so-roaring start
On the first sunny weekend following days of seemingly non-stop rain, I prepared for the first grass cutting of the season. I had filled the lawn mower and weedeater with gas the day before. Grungy clothes, baseball cap, sunglasses weekend lawn warrior, I was ready to go.
It was past time, actually. As I walked around the yard picking up stray sticks, in some places I was wading in clover clumps nearly up to my knees. But no time to look for four-leafs, I was on a mission.
Usually it takes about an hour and a half to mow my path around the yard, and then trim up with the weedeater. Lets just say that Sunday afternoon experience stretched out to about five hours.
Theres something pleasant about that first grass cutting. It signals the start of spring and you dont yet have that oh-no-80th-time-of-the-season feeling. So, unaware that I was a walking lawnmower jinx, I admired the spring-fat clouds and blue sky as I made my way across the yard to the unused chicken house where the equipment is kept. I marched with purpose into the semi-gloom, stepped up to the lawnmower, adjusted the choke, pulled the cord. And pulled the cord. And adjusted the choke. Pulled the cord... pulled, pulled, pulled, pulled.
(Whats going on? Ive done this many times before. Maybe Ive flooded it?)
My back was aching and I was sweating and out of breath, and patience, by the time I decided I would take a brief cold drink break and maybe eat some popcorn for fortification.
OK, back to work.
I made a round with the weedeater as I took a breather from the mower. After a lot of tall weeds splattered me with a lot of wet green I was ready for the mower again.
When I finally got the mower cranked, I realized that it wouldnt reverse. Nope, not a chance, and there was no other way to maneuver. I struggled with the gear stick and shifted my weight on the seat, as if I could lunge backward enough to suddenly startle the machine into motion. No luck. Was there some secret I didnt remember?
Turns out, the gear stick was cracked with age and, in fact, broke off in the skirmish, leaving a ragged metal nub. My father, who seems to know how to fix everything, came to my rescue and replaced the broken gear stick with one from an old mower, and I started my chugging way out into the yard.
A few passes up and down a side strip of grass and I managed to snag the edge of some mesh netting left over from the chicken house and ta-dah! I was out of business again. After we untangled the netting, my father decided that while the mower was standing on end, he might as well sharpen the blade (who could possibly have dulled it on tree roots and rocks?!).
Its only been several hours. Im moving, Im cutting a swathe through the tall grass and racecar driver-like, Im dodging the mower in and out around the fruit trees....and Im knocking the gas tank off the mower as I cut just a little too close to a tree.
I was all the way around the other side of the house, in the front yard by the road, before the mower dwindled to a stop. Ooops. No gas tank. And no gas, of course, because it has leaked out of the plastic tank all over the ground way back there somewhere.
Did I mention that I rammed my face into a very sturdy tree limb, nearly embedding my sunglasses into the corners of my eyes? Sad to say, this was when I was on foot, gas can in hand, as I walked amongst the fruit trees yes, same ones I knocked against with the mower. I did not end up with a black eye, however.
OK, more gas. Im pulling faster and faster on the crank cord in the front yard by the road as I watch some neighbors driving slowly my way. I scratch some of the now dried green weeds from my face, wipe my black hands on my jeans and adjust my bent sunglasses.
Trouble? No, no, no, Im fine. Ive got it under control. You want me to come on over and cut your grass? Sure, Ill just ride the mile over there, though, as I cannot let this mower quit again.
On second thought, I could just be too much of a jinx. I might sideswipe a car, pedestrian, pet or farm animal along the way. Not on purpose, of course.
Well, my first mowing outing of the spring wasnt off to such a roaring start, but I feel sure Ill have many chances to redeem myself.
Jana Adams is features editor of The Jackson Herald and a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers.
By: Adam Fouche
The Banks County News
April 16, 2003
A dinner fit for Sonny
You might not know it, but the greatest mystery in the world has nothing to do with Sasquatch, the Abominable Snowman or the Egyptian pyramids.
Instead, lifes most intriguing riddle comes in a small aluminum can.
Growing up as an avid fisherman, theres one thing I was never short ofvienna sausages.
Im not ashamed to admit it. Ive eaten my fair share of viennas.
On many a fishing trips, Ive taken one of them, split it long ways with my pocketknife and slapped it on a cracker. And you may not think it, but thats some fine eating during a day out on the lake.
Im sure many of you have probably eaten at least one can of vienna sausages in your lifetime. Im not going to ask you to raise your hands. That might embarrass you.
But if you have tried them, I think youll agree with me on thisthe greatest mystery isnt what theyre made of, its how to get the first one out of the can.
Im serious about this. Go buy a can. Try it. Getting the first sausage out without tearing it is nearly an impossible feat.
Regardless, there aint much finer a food while fishing than vienna sausages and crackers (except maybe sardines, but thats another story altogether).
And this great mystery leads me to my main point. I bet Governor Sonny Perdue has eaten a few cans of vienna sausages.
My girlfriend and I had the privilege of visiting his state-supplied home in Buckhead for lunch on Friday. I wont tell you what for. Some things in a persons life should be left private.
But I will tell you that I met his wife there. And after meeting the first lady and seeing the Governor on television a lot last week, Ive come to the conclusion that hes no different than you or I.
I bet Sonny likes to catfish. I bet hes been in a treestand more than once. And I bet he likes to eat vienna sausages during a day of fishing on the lake.
And that all might not mean too much to you. But it says to me that hes a guy whos got his head screwed on the right way.
And if hes anything like I think he is, then hes probably a lot like me (which makes him an okay guy).
So it doesnt really matter what he does with the flag or the budget or the sin tax. Because when it comes right down to it, the governor of Georgia has the same problems we all have.
How in the heck do you get that first sausage out of the can without tearing it?
Adam Fouche is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.