Work can ease the mind while exhausting the body

in Cherimie Crane/Contributors/Voices by

By Cherimie Crane Weatherford

There are days when I long for simplicity, joy found in unexpected corners of normalcy and moments of innocent humanity flowing through the labyrinth of chaotic days. 

Society progresses further into the technical realm while my home-grown soul retreats in thought when impossible in circumstance. 

Often I wonder how many others dream of dusty dirt roads, necessary tasks and work that eased the mind while exhausting the body.  

Old, rusty and built to promote injury, was my grandpa’s manual push lawnmower. Real wood and powerful steel wheels with the ironic stamp of “run easy” was a magnet for my childish determination. Tormenting Mississippi temperatures did little to discourage my mission.  

Humored and equally curious, my papaw would appease my quest on occasion, always proclaiming my choice of toy to be odd at best. 

Weighing at least four times my weight, standing almost twice my height and equally matched in stubborn motion, my old rusty friend and I would pace up and down the field. 

The smell of grass and the scent of accomplishment kept me going row after row. The threat of loss of limb held my attention while the proof of achievement fueled my desire to push forward. 

In retrospect, dolls would have been far less hazardous; however, the quiet cooperation between me and the torturous device calmed my busy mind and eased my restless nature. Push, pull and repeat to accomplish a goal. There was no confusing nuance, no socially unacceptable approach and certainly no reason to document my every move.

If there was an instruction manual, I didn’t need it. No motor, no noise other than the crickets and Momma constantly screaming off the porch at all the reasons I should choose dolls. 

Thankfully there was no neighborhood traffic to encourage passersby to call in concern over child labor; actually there were no neighbors. There was no political correctness to dictate appropriate age and no forum for accusatory judgment by those with more time and less will. 

Just a field, a little girl and a job that needed to be done. 

Papaw would giggle as he treated me with mason jar tea, always patting my sweat drenched hair while offering his amazement at my refusal to stop. 

Part defiance, part compulsion, I would push and pull, up and down until the grass bowed in defeat. 

It wasn’t simple to do but it was simple to understand. A task needing to be done and a tool capable of completion with a little girl that appreciated the irony in “run easy.” Sometimes I think life is easier with a simple push-and-pull. 

Cherimie Crane Weatherford, owner of SugarBelle boutique, real estate broker and observer of all things momentous and mundane, lives on Lady’s Island with her golfing husband, dancing toddler and lounging dogs.