My sons bought me a push mower for Father’s Day this year.

Now, some of you dads and moms might roll your eyes at that news. Isn’t getting a push mower for Father’s Day like buying your mom a vacuum cleaner for Mother’s Day?

Well, yes and no. But mostly no.

I actually kind of like cutting the lawn.  It’s work, yes, but it’s one of those jobs that, when it’s over, you can actually see that you’ve done something. And for a day or two, your lawn looks like the carpet at Augusta … until the dandelions and assorted other weeds take over.

The push mower was actually quite a thoughtful gift, which is quite astonishing from three guys for whom thoughtfulness is a foreign concept. (Seriously, if I didn’t remind them that Mother’s Day comes up every year, they would completely forget it.) I had actually spoken of how I was thinking of switching to a push mower, and someone apparently listened. That may have been the greatest Father’s Day gift of all.

Anyway, back to the push mower.

I cut my front lawn yesterday, powered only by my self of self-righteousness. No gasoline, no incredibly noisy engine, no fear of being blinded by a stray rock tossed up by the power mower. It’s maybe a little harder to push through the thick grass, but not enough to make a difference. A push mower leaves behind a different kind of clipping; the grass is sheared off gently and leaves behind longer, unmangled blades of grass.

I don’t know why more people don’t use a push mower. They’re cheaper, quieter, and more environmentally friendly. Sure, they’re a little harder to push, but that’s just a little bit of exercise, right?

Of course, I haven’t cut my back lawn yet, which is a much larger space and inexplicably grows much thicker and faster.  Since I’m still feeling the rosy glow of using the push mower, I’m not going to tell you how that turns out.  

Goodbye, Callingwood Lanes

Callingwood Lanes is closing.

That may not mean anything to you, unless you live in the west end and go to Callingwood Lanes, but it means something to me.

When my two oldest sons were small and adorable, my wife and I entered them into a five-pin bowling league at Callingwood Lanes. Every Saturday during league play (which seemed to go on for at least 11 ½ months of the year) we’d troop on down to the lanes and play. We really got into it; heck, we even bought them their own engraved bowling balls. And I must say, there were good at it. Not to brag (but I’m going to anyway) in 1991-92, my son Richard was the winner of the coveted Triple Crown for highest average (87), highest single game (134) and highest double (248). Scott also won Triple Crown (128/217/395), although the trophy, which (without a hint of irony) adorns our mantle, doesn’t list the year. Their best year would be 1993-94, when both of them won Bowler of the Year for their age groups.

I don’t recall how many years they bowled every Saturday, but it pretty much ended when we discovered something called indoor soccer actually existed.  They’ve been playing ever since, but when I see the toll soccer has taken on them, I almost wish they had stuck with bowling. What’s the worst that can happen in bowling? A rotator cuff injury? Carpal tunnel? Athlete’s foot?

I hope five-pin bowling is not on the way out; five-pin bowling is a uniquely Canadian creation, developed and played only here. It would be a shame if five-pin bowling ever gets to the point where the only signs left of it are dusty trophies on mantles.



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