The Mom Diaries: Gone With The Wind

Today's post is written by my mom. She moved here to North Carolina from Chicago two years ago and is still "adjusting." This is an e-mail she sent me yesterday, reprinted with her permission.     


Gone With The Wind

by S. Karides

Chivalry is not gone, it lives on in the South.

Yesterday was my first attempt this year to mow the lawn.  I dragged out the mower, filled it with gas, checked the oil and I'm off.  After about 3 circles around the backyard I smell and see smoke.  I shut the mower off immediately but the smoke keeps getting heavier.  Fearing the fire department would show any minute, I tried to fan the mower to cool it off (you would to if you saw what I did).  Main thought: Blair is going to kill me!!  

Then I noticed the oil cap was halfway off and ALL the oil was everywhere except inside the mower.  After the smoke settled down, I called Blair at work to ask if I should add any of the containers in the shed into the oil. Keeping his usual slow, calming Southern tone he said, "No, those.. all.. contain.. gas. Don't.. use.. them".  He said I would have to go to Lowes and ask for push mower oil.

Armed with this information I'm off to Lowes all the while repeating "push mower oil, push mower oil."

Walking confidently into Lowes I ask the first assistant I see where to find lawn mower oil.  She leads me to a shelf and goes to find a male assistant who knew more than she and I combined.  So a very patient looking older gentleman asks if he can be of assistance.  

"Yes", I say, "I need 'push mower oil," and puff myself up knowing how knowledgeable I sound.

"What's the name of the mower?" he asks.  

Silence.  Defeat.  I whisper, "I don't know, I didn't look."

Now comes the chivalry.  

Very softly, with a Southern smile, he looks at me and asks, "What color is it?"  RED, it's RED (I know this)!!  He reaches next to me on the shelf and hands me a small, black container with a "red" stripe and tells me to use this.  He then explains how to fill just a little, let it set a minute and then add a little more until it's full.  

After telling him my tale of woe he shows me a red mower almost like mine and tells me to first turn it on its side and check underneath to make sure nothing is cracked or leaking and be sure to lean it on the side where the gas fill is located. He really didn't need to offer the extra information but was just being a gentleman and trying to help "a lady in obvious distress." Actually, he suggested I might want to get some help before attempting it.

So I drive home and face down the mower.  Got a towel and wiped all the oil off, turned it on its side to check for cracks (none), set it back up, filled it slowly with oil and "I'M OFF!"  

Now as I'm mowing the back yard I hear my neighbor Kenny's riding mower.  He lives 4 houses down and cuts his and my neighbor Johnnie's property.  As I finish the back Kenny is mowing my long side next to Johnnie's house which he did several times last year.  I wave at him and he waves back.  I'm just starting the other side when the sound of the riding mower is getting louder. I look and there is Kenny mowing the front.  I finished the side quickly and walked to the front to say thank you but he just sort of waved it off, tipped his hat and kept mowing.  As I pushed the mower back to the shed, cleaned it up and put it away, I heard the sound of the riding mower fading into the distance...sort of like gone with the wind.

Say what you will about the South but I will take it any day and twice on Sunday.  Chivalry lives on.  And women love it.