My sister bought a house not long after I finished college and I became her roommate. Daddy wasn’t our roommate, so that was when mowing the yard became part of my duties. Melissa and I took turns mowing. Initially, I hated it. It was the most dreaded of tasks. I hated it so much, I often became a cranky, moody person when I had to do it, I’m ashamed to say. The blistered hands, the excessive sweating – I just despised it.
After a couple of years of my bad attitude, Sayid came into our lives. Where my response to mowing the yard was dread, his was unbridled joy. To this day, if you say to him – “Sayid, you wanna mow the yard?” – he lights up. He rushes around the house, stalking me until I’m in my mowing clothes, my hair is up, and we’re walking out the back door. If I take too long, he starts with the high pitched, playful barking, trying his best to lead me to the back door.
As soon as the door is open, he’s out there, pulling out his Jolly Ball. My boy is a creature of habit. From the time he got his first Jolly Ball as a puppy, that has been his toy of choice on yard mowing day. He has one at my house & he has one at Melissa’s house. My hands touch the mower, the Jolly Ball is in his mouth. It’s as certain as a sunrise.
While I get the grass under control, Sayid lets that Jolly Ball know who’s boss. It’s as if he thinks we each have our own important task to conquer and he takes his job very seriously. When he was younger, he’d drag that ball all over the yard, placing it in the path of the mower and barking up at me until I either kicked it out of the way for him to chase or paused in my tracks and told him over & over to “get it” until he finally moved it out of the way. The high pitched, happy bark is constant the entire time the mower is running.
These days he lies in the grass to rest a lot earlier than he used to, but that happy bark continues and that Jolly Ball can always be found close by. I’ll catch a glimpse of him while I’m mowing, his head toward the sky, barking joyfully, and it makes me smile. His joy is contagious. It makes me feel joyful right along with him.
Sayid’s joy on yard mowing day has helped change my attitude about the chore. In fact, if it weren’t for my irrational fear of wasps and snakes, I might could even say I kind of enjoy it. Once I move past the perimeter of the yard and I feel like the threat of a surprise wasp attack or snake sighting has passed, it’s not so bad. It feels like a good workout, and it is always followed by a refreshing shower, an easy supper, and Netflix & chill. The fact that yard mowing day is one of Sayid’s most simplest of pleasures makes me look forward to it if for no other reason than to listen to that happy bark and see his smiling face.