"It won't be long until my shiny new lawn mower is relegated to winter vacation at the back of my garage," advised the merchant. "It has been a very competitive mowing season this year."
"Competitive, you ask? You see, three of my neighbors also got new machines. Sooo, there was competition to see who could perform a good deed and cut the other guy's grass first. It got so the sun had hardly peeped over the horizon and someone was mowing his way around our houses."
"I heard of a guy who mows after dark," added McBeane. "He does a good job, too, without a headlight. If you check it out you'll see his lines are good and successive curves follow one another. I am not certain if he has mulched any of his wife's flowers."
"Does he have all of his toes?" wondered the cynic.
"We had the same thing a couple winters ago with snow blowers until one of us strained his shoulder," continued the former uptown store owner. "Another man slipped and fell because he was tired. We all are old and my wife says manhandling one large snowblower and clearing one set of sidewalk plus driveway is all we should tackle.
"But the physical difference may come because we sit down on our powerful mowers. And we don't get as tired as we might while wrestling a heavy machine while sliding around. But I get more chiropractor appointments with mowing because my vertebrae get bounced around."
"Have you men thought about getting into roto-tillers? You could grow your own produce. A competition could be staged about quality of soil preparation, how weed free the rows are kept, all culminating in a produce show judged by FFA experts," suggested the historian. "But I am not sure what effect that competition might have on your medical premiums, given your histories of mower maladies and blower bungling.
"I didn't know if we took note before but U S District Court Judge Victor Marrero ruled a part of the Patriot Act unconstitutional recently. The Bush administration had sent out what they called 'national security letters' to folks like libraries and phone companies. The letters required a bunch of information about certain American Citizens ... which, my coffee slurping friends, could be one or more of us. The judge says wait a minute you need a judge or jury review before you poke your nose into people's privacy."
"The Department of Justice which is supposed to look out for citizens is expected to appeal.
"Speaking of good guys, it doesn't seem to make much difference about a person's political bias; people thought that Paul Gillmor, from the little nearby town of Old Fort, was a good man. As you review his years of service, you can tell he didn't seem to push the little guy around. He helped a lot of folks whether it was the need for a flag from the capitol or a gripe with government. Congressman Paul had accumulated a competent and caring staff too. Your veteran legislator recently joined those who saw the need to get Attorney General Gonzales to quit. Our Congressman had years of experience in governmental matters which only time can build.
"I know I'll miss him. Perhaps we all should do so a little. Perhaps you might include Paul Gillmor in your thoughts and prayers for those who serve their nation."
Richard Armbrust of Norwalk is the unofficial scribe of the Cheap Coffee Club, a group of retirees who meet each morning for coffee and conversation at a local restaurant. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.