IT WAS MY DAUGHTER’S IDEA to visit my mom in Ohio last week, some 800 miles from where we live on the fringe of the prairie.
She was thinking manicures, pedicures, and a 12-hour Girl’s Day Out—all of which took place early in the week.
Her husband of a few months, who joined us late in the week, was thinking of golf and target shooting. Done and done.
My son and his wife came, too. They were thinking about Cedar Point amusement park, but not about that skunk crossing the road on the dark drive home. Done and done in.
My wife was thinking about spending time with her daughter, daughter-in-law, and the Ohio gals. And about Grandpa’s Cheese Barn, it seems.
My mom was thinking about a family reunion, with all of her five kids and as many grandkids and great-grandkids as she could herd into her house. I counted 27 souls on Saturday.
I was thinking about dirt.
Mom had a landscape drainage problem in what would have passed as her front yard, if the Ohio rains hadn’t already washed out two attempts at planting grass there. She needed sod, I decided.
Also, there was that mound of timber, rock, and other grunge that builders had bulldozed into creation while clearing land to build her house a couple of years ago. That ugly mound needed to disappear.
Here’s a fact.
- When you rent a front end loader with a backhoe for 24 hours, and then run it onto ground that only appears to be dry, you will spend most of those daylight hours embarrassing yourself, though entertaining the neighbors.
Here’s another fact.
- If you don’t do your math right, you might get to hand-carry three tons of sod instead of two—and you could get to do it one 40-pound, water-logged roll at a time.
A word about regret.
I think my daughter regretted not helping me. When I wasn’t looking, I am told she grabbed a shovel and tried to turn the soil to prep it for the coming sod. But she couldn’t drive the shovel into the clay ground, even jumping onto the shovel. At least she tried…after getting her nails done.
My son regretted not helping, too. He tried to go to Cedar Point on Tuesday, but that day got rained out. He used that time to build a website for a Buckeye cousin and to catch up on some homework due that week in his graduate program. So when it came time to move sod on Thursday, he was spending a well-deserved day with his wife at Cedar Point.
Here’s what I regret: spending less time with humans and more time with dirt.
There is one conciliation:
There is a time for every purpose under heaven.
This was my time with dirt.
Apologies to Ecclesiastes 3:1-2.