If we could just suspend the Constitution long enough to take care of this ONE thing…

I spent Easter weekend at the beach with some of my family. We stayed at the beach house that my grandfather built in Surfside Beach. It’s on a small, narrow freshwater lake — the twins call it “the river” because it is so long and narrow that that’s what it looks like — with the ocean a couple of blocks beyond.

I don’t get there often, but we made it this time. The weather was beautiful. We had the whole day free Sunday (at least, until we had to drive back), having attended Easter Vigil Mass at my cousin’s church in Conway.

Between the Easter egg hunt with the twins and dinner, I managed to find a few quiet moments to lie in the hammock right next to the lake. Conditions were perfect. The breeze was perfect. I put some early Steve Miller Band on my iPhone and set it next to my head (I had no earbuds) as I prepared to snooze. I was right on the verge of doing something unusual for me — thoroughly enjoy the outdoors.

Just then, the roar of a riding lawnmower started up about 20 feet from my head, over on the lot next door. The guy on the mower was not the owner of that property, but a stranger. He was doing this for pay, on Easter Sunday.

I went inside fuming about it, but took solace from the fact that with that riding mower and he being a professional, it couldn’t take more than 10 minutes for him to mow that yard. I even found myself making excuses for him in my mind: Poor fellow must be desperate for the income to be mowing lawns today…

Then I headed back outside and resolved to escape the noise the way Huck Finn escaped the things that he didn’t like about “sivilization.” I got into the jon boat and pushed off with an oar to drift across the lake. It’s only about 40 yards across. As I drifted, I realized to my horror that some unseen fiend was using a leaf blower on the far side. Which sounded even worse.

I turned back as the first guy stopped mowing, only to see that the heathen mercenary had started using a weedeater.

I changed course again and started rowing perpendicular to the line between these two abominations.

As the first guy put down his weedeater and picked up a leaf-blower of his own — to blow the yard trash he had cut out onto the surface of the lake — I paused to write the following on Twitter:

Forget the Constitution: Anyone operating obnoxious power tools on such a beautiful Easter Sunday should be drawn and quartered, then fined.

I was reTweeted and received supportive replies from several folks (one who totally got into the Swiftian spirit of the thing wrote, “And then punished in a manner that could be considered cruel and unusual for such a crime.”). Good to know there are some sane people left in this world.

32 thoughts on “If we could just suspend the Constitution long enough to take care of this ONE thing…

  1. bud

    Those noisy yard tools bother my wife too. But I can usually tune them out. I grew up on a very busy street with motorcycles, big trucks and the occassional gunfire so yard noice is hardly noise at all to me.

  2. Brad

    Of course, Hawaii is its own category. The weather there is at least as beautiful, if not more so, every single day.

    A golden day like yesterday isn’t rare and special there.

  3. Silence

    I launched the new pontoon boat and spent a relaxing Easter afternoon on Lake Murray enjoying the company of Mrs. Silence and Baby Silence, dreaming about lake houses….
    Re: Power tools – I tried to use a reel mower for a year or two, then I finally gave up and got a gas mower. It’s noisy, but at least it cuts the grass.

  4. Brad

    Yeah, speaking of Hawaii… we had a reel mower there, and as the teenaged boy in the family I was deputed to try to use it on our lawn in Foster Village. I found it impossible to cut the grass with it. Seems like it was some sort of bermuda, and it had a consistency like steel wool.

    I tried again here on our centipede. We bought one at Lowe’s and tried it, and I took it back, convinced that it was defective. Nope. That’s just the way those things “work.”

  5. Steven Davis II

    @Silence – “I launched the new pontoon boat and spent a relaxing Easter afternoon on Lake Murray”

    You and about 8000 other people with the same idea… half of them drunk by the time they docked.

  6. SusanG

    I mowed a couple of lawns with my sister-in-laws electric one last summer and was pleasantly surprised by how nice it was to mow with. It was light, quiet, and it did a great job on a very over-grown yard.

  7. Brad

    Um, we used to have nail guns that used little .22-cal (or so they looked to be) cartridges when I worked construction long ago. They were used to drive nails into concrete.

    And I’ve seen belts of that sort of ammo in Lowe’s. Maybe I misunderstood what they were for…

  8. `Kathryn Fenner

    They mowed, blew, whacked, etc. the Woman’s Club across the street from me yesterday, too. Arrggghhh

  9. `Kathryn Fenner

    @ SusanG–Back when we had grass (we have ground cover now) we loved our “reel” mower–human powered…..

  10. obiewankenobi

    Re: gasless mowers

    They are not for the inexperienced, I hear. My husband’s Italian (Sicilian — 100% bonafide) grandmother finally sold theirs with the remnants of their shoe/junk store when Popo (the grandfather) passed away. Nobody knew how to maintenance the estimated “3,000+” little blades that made it hum, and it was heavy. Americans are lazy. We finally admit it.

  11. Scout

    I used a gunpowder (I think) powered nail shooter thingy to drive nails into cement about 5 years ago when we were fixing up our old house to sell. We were putting some carpet over a cement floor in the garage. It did have little cartridges kind of like caps. It was a cylindrical barrel type thing and you hit the end of it with a hammer to set off the cap and shoot the nail in. I wasn’t very good at it. My husband mostly did it. Earplugs were needed.

    We used to have a neighbor who was rather OCD about his yard and would seriously get out his leaf blower daily for a single stray leaf or two. Every weekend morning or afternoon, it was constant. You can tune them out easier when it is a constant whine, but he would constantly start and stop it so it constantly cut into your attention. I wasn’t really sad when he moved.

  12. Silence

    Generically, it’s “gunpowder” but actually it’s “smokeless powder”. Gunpowder usually refers to black powder.

    I wonder if I could get some goats or a pony to keep the grass/weeds down in my yard and do away with mowing altogether?

  13. obiewankenobi

    We had a cousin like that, Scout. OCD with the pine needles. Once her three daughters married and moved away, it got worse. One pine needle would start the whole cleansing regime, that could go on for hours. One woman + one power blower (gas).

  14. Leon Smith

    My neighbor just down the street mowed his grass while we were having Thanksgiving dinner last year and he mowed his yard on Easter while we were having Easter dinner this year. I am fully expecting him to fire up his lawn mower on Christmas Day during our dinner at some point! There is a time and a place for doing yard work but Easter and Thanksgiving are definitely not the times for it.

  15. Steven Davis II

    Sounds like a bunch of busy-bodies who don’t have enough to do that they need to worry about what their neighbors are doing. It’s a shame that they don’t come over and get your daily routine as to not disturb you.

  16. Steven Davis II

    “I wonder if I could get some goats or a pony to keep the grass/weeds down in my yard and do away with mowing altogether?”

    Your neighbors (could be just about anyone on here) would just find something else to complain about… poop in the yard, animals are staring them when they’re out tending to their daffodils and pansies, the animals aren’t bathed often enough, etc…

  17. `Kathryn Fenner

    @ Steven Davis–I don’t care what you do on your lawn as long as you do it quietly. The gas-powered drone of the lawn mower, the whir of the weed whacker and, worst, the whine of the blower all travel quite readily through closed windows…

    You don’t have to know someone’s “daily routine” to anticipate that most everyone enjoys a quiet Sunday morning, especially a holiday one.

    Bring on the goats. I like goats!

  18. Silence

    @Steven Davis II – “He just smiled at me! The devil goat smiled at me! Take him away!” – Brian Fellow

  19. Steven Davis II

    @Kathryn – You just mentioned three tools I used on Saturday morning. Four if you count the edger attachment. You also have no more say about how noisy anything in my yard is than I do about the guy who lives 4 houses away and spent all Sunday afternoon enjoying himself by tuning up his dirtbike and needing to make sure it ran okay at 9000 rpm.

    My yard looks great for this time of year, my religious neighbor’s yard on the other hand, not so good.


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