Lawn Mower

Old Seven Dollar

When we moved to our Itty Bitty Dirt Farm in the late 70’s after my husband Roy retired from the US Navy, he fell heir to a barn full of unidentifiable, valuable junk from the former owners.

Way back in the left corner of the barn was a rickety, broken lawn mower trying valiantly to stand on three wheels. Looking at the old mower and the expanse of hay that would become our lawn, and knowing we had a combined brood of kids to feed, he scrounged through the junk piles to find parts to repair the dilapidated machine. However, no amount of digging through the random cultch could uncover the missing wheel. A  new spark plug was required for the machine to run with gusto.

After a quick trip to the local farm supply store, Roy returned with the replacement parts, a spray can of red paint, and a receipt for seven dollars. Thus Old Seven Dollar was born and would practically become a member of the family.

Over the next ten years or so, Roy and Old Seven Dollar beat back the hay fields until they became proud owners of an “estate.” To complete the job, man and machine spent a leisurely Saturday afternoon in the sun.

After a bit of discussion, we decided that it really was time to upgrade to a riding mower. Yes, you guessed it, Roy found a machine that had been repaired by an elderly gentleman in his tinker shop. Old Seven Dollar still had a mission: to mow the lawn patches directly in front of the house that I hadn’t converted into a weeping tree collection and perennial garden. The riding mower couldn’t maneuver in and out of the narrow garden paths.

With this new toy, Roy began testing the limits of the hay field! Each passing year expanded the perimeters of our estate.  A couple years later,  he announced, “I stopped at Sears. They’ve got a mower with a bigger mowing deck. I could get the mowing job done quicker and have more time for play.”  Proudly, he purchased his first new riding mower.    I purchased a T-shirt for him to wear while riding it that proclaimed, “I Fought the Lawn, and the Lawn Won!”

Old Seven Dollar still had its mission of manicuring the area in the front yard that wasn’t a garden yet.

Eventually, Roy spent a full Saturday mowing our lawn that was taking on the appearance of a country club golf course.  Occasionally, I’d take pity on him. “How about a duel? I can mow more than you in an hour!” I chided. With both of us mowing, we could conquer the lawn in under five hours.

When he began eyeballing the industrial strength mowers at Agway, I suggested we sell our extra mowers or we’d have to hire all the neighbors to help us mow! Roy got the subtle hint.

Yesterday, he lamented, “Old Seven Dollar is acting sick and won’t stay running. What do you think, should I buy new power mower without all the bells and whistles to mow that patch or two of grass in the front garden?”

“What happened to ‘Make do, use it up, wear it out?’ ‘We’re going to be in the poorhouse if you buy another mower!’” I teased borrowing expressions handed down by his frugal Wisconsin father and mother.

Old Seven Dollar, thank you for your many years of dependable service. Even Roy believes you have finally earned your well deserved retirement. There is a special niche in the left hand corner of the barn just for you... May you rust in peace!

~ Kay Seefeldt ~

A tribute to my husband for Father's day.

[ by: Kay Seefeldt, Copyright © 2005, ( birdnest @ ) -- submitted by: Kay Seefeldt ]


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