Pete LaBonne, along with Bruce Eaton, released a 45 with their Buffalo group, “The Party Nuggets”. It was called “I Mow The Lawn” and it was pretty close to the Staple Singers’ tune “I’ll Take You There”. I start singing it every time I fire up the lawn mower. Yesterday was one of those days.
We were supposed to be at Peter Pappas’s for a pre Jazz Fest party at 7 and I got a late start and so I mowed while walking really fast which reminded me of the job I had in Bloomington mowing the lawns of University owned houses. There were about a hundred of these houses all over town. Caroline Peyton from the Screaming Gypsy Bandits who went on to do the voice for many of Disney’s animated cartoons (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame) lived in one of the houses that I mowed. And I think her roommate at the time was Andrea from Angel Corpus Christi. I would stop and chat with Caroline but my main objective was mowing my lawns as fast as I could, hiding the mower in someone’s bushes and then riding my bike back to the trailer I lived in to hang out for the rest of the day. Then around four I would have to ride back into town to punch out.
My boss had mouth cancer but he continued to smoke Lucky Strikes. He had open sores on the side of his face. It was my first glimpse of cancer. I remember a woman opening a window and giving me six pairs of grey socks. She said her husband had recently died and I looked like I could use them. It was a little creepy the first time I put them on but I got over that. Near the end of the summer one of the other mowers told me that the boss was spending some time driving around looking for me. So I made a point to hang around and let him see me. I remember smiling and waving when he drove by.