My Grandpa Jerry used to walk around the cottage with the leaf blower – it seemed like every day, all summer long – and it didn’t matter if you were sitting on the front or back patio, if you were talking with friends or trying to nap on the sofa by the slider, he was cleaning off the patios.
The rnnnn…rnn..rn..rn..rnnnnnnnnnnnnn of the leaf blower is a noise that I lovingly associate with my Grandpa Jerry.
However, leaf blowers intimidate me in a ‘it’s a piece of garage equipment’ kind of way.
Until this weekend, that is.
There was a pile of leaves that were accumulating in the corner of our driveway and I was sick of them. I wanted them to go away so I got out the broom and rake and a leaf bag to put them into (evidently we have leaf miners which is causing our tree to prematurely drop its leaves, all chewed up). I started working and Jon and his Dad were working in the garage…Jon painting and Big John changing out the brass garage light to a pewter motion sensor light. (Woo hoo!) And I said ‘am I using the right tools for this job, or should I be using a leaf blower?’
Jon’s Dad had gifted a leaf blower to Jon when we moved in, so we have one hanging in the garage. It’s under-utilized as far as I’m concerned. It was, of course, my Grandpa’s favorite yard tool. My dad uses his in the fall a LOT. So, I unhooked the leaf blower, had Jon show me how to start it (choke it, prime it, hitch the switch, pull the cord…not exactly in that order) and I was off.
And let me tell you, friends, that the leaf blower is my new absolute favorite thing. I blew ALL the leaves out of the yard and out of the obnoxious red rocks that the previous owners used for landscaping genius. I blew all the leaves that had been driving me crazy into a pile. I blew off the driveway and the patio, and the steps to the patio, and the side of the house. And I did it again. And again. And again.
It was C-L-E-A-N clean. Or, at least as clean as it was going to get with the weeds overtaking some of our landscaping area.
But here’s the thing. I don’t know if I loved leaf blowing on its own merits OR if I liked it because the noise reminded me of my Grandpa, of times at the lake, of a family we had then that we don’t have now, of relationships that I had with my Grandpa that I wish that my daughter gets to have with her grandparents, the rest of the family and through me, with my Grandpa and my other grandparents who have left already. There are so many other things that remind me of my Grandpa, too, but the leaf blower is one that makes me smile. And it made me smile yesterday, as I sweated through the cleaning off of the driveway and yard.
And I felt like I got it – got him – a little bit more than I did before I took control of the leaf blower. Cleaning that made me feel like my house was a bit more presentable. Like I had a well kept yard (even though I don’t…the damn yard is HUGE). And I liked that the noise of that leaf blower was something that I was exposing my baby to right now. I like to imagine that she’ll associate that sound, someday, with stories I tell of my Grandpa Jerry. And maybe, when it’s all said and done, of me, too.
I’d like that.