One of the last things Brother Mark asked me to do before I left Cape was to check out Mother’s hedge trimmer. He said the last time he used it, it gave him a little buzz, and not the good kind. He thought maybe the power cord should be replaced.
I remembered it well: it was probably about as old as I am. It had a metal case and a 12″ blade. Since our house was built long before three-prong plugs were invented, somebody – probably Dad – had broken off the ground prong so you could plug it into a two-prong outlet.
That meant if the trimmer shorted out, YOU were the effective ground, particularly if you were standing in wet grass.
I quietly slipped out and went to the local emporium of tools and toys and bought her a newer version that has a longer blade, more power and was lighter than her old disaster-waiting-to-happen trimmer.
Mother isn’t big on change, so I bought a mushy Mother’s Day card and a cute bow (which, observing the Family Frugality Rule, I affixed in such a manner it could be reused) and left it in her spot on the kitchen table while she was sleeping.
To my surprise, she loved it. Loved it so much that nothing green in the yard is safe.
“That’s ENOUGH!” I said. “You’re not going to have anything left but a stump.”
I turned around and saw her attacking a dandelion that had the audacity to stick its head out of the ground. “Wow,” she said, “I can even use this like a weed eater.”
For the record, I did a finger count when I left town. She had ten digits when I pulled out of the driveway. I hope she doesn’t think she can use the hedge trimmer on finger and toenails.