From Pine View Farm

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And I thought it was a big deal when my parents raised my allowance from five to eight dollars and got a riding mower so that my brother and I could cut the grass at the farm in less than two hours.

By all estimates, the current crop of tweens, 20 million of them, are the it generation. They can’t drive to the mall, but they are mighty consumers (even in the recession), believed to control or influence as much as $200 billion in purchasing power. And those numbers are expected only to grow. By 2015, the census estimates that tweens will number nearly 24 million.


Speaking of cutting the grass, the summer between my Freshman and Sophomore years at college, I had a job cutting grass for the state highway department. They assigned me a nice little tractor with a sickle bar.

On Mondays, we’d drive out to our assigned stretch of road. At the end of the day, we’d park the tractors and the foreman would pick us up, then drive us back in the morning. On Fridays, we’d drive back to the garage to do weekly maintenance. I only rolled it over once. We wrapped a chain around it and one of my coworkers pulled it back up with his tractor.

Then there was the time I ditched it and they had to bring out the motor grader to pull it out of the ditch (one of fellow summer hires ditched his tractor about once a week, but they usually could get Mickey free with a dump truck; I remember the boss saying, “Damn, Frank, when you ditch it, you ditch it good.”)

It was the funnest summer job I had (except for the two weeks of raging poison ivy I got cutting a ditchbank down by Custis tomb).

My brother got all the grass-cutting duties at the farm that summer. I remember his asking my father, “Why doesn’t Frank ever have to cut the grass?”

My father looked at him and said, “He’s cut more grass this summer than you’ve seen.”


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