The tall grass was trapping all the moisture in the air making the entire county of Sedgwick humid. A mosquito got the back of my neck. I dismounted and pulled open the engine cover, eyeing the dead battery. Scanning around me, I don't see the battery charger. He usually keeps it with the boat. Another door, this one to the attached area which is nearly exactly the length and width of the boat. No charger. Father-in-law probably took it with him in his camper on his 8-month tour of the Midwest. An 1/8 mile march across the acreage to the other barn. Creaking open an unused barn door reveals two rusting mowers. I check the batteries on each. Identical. I turn one. Nothing. I turn the other....lots of juice left in this one.
Once the replacement battery is in place, I remount and crank. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. The battery dies. I drive my car into the garage and attach the jumper cables, giving they key a turn. Nothing. I get in the car and make revolutions for 1500 per minute for three minutes. This time, the tractor cranks, but won't start. I grab the starter fluid, remove the air cleaner, and side straddle the mower, simultaneously turning the key and spraying the fluid in the carb. She turns she starts! But then dies. No gas.
It costs me over $12 for 4 gallons of gas. I fill the tank halfway and turn the key. The battery is dead again. I reattach the car's battery, give 1500 rpm's for 3 minutes, side saddle the mower, turn the key and spray. It starts, but will not run. Closer inspection reveals a fuel valve in the 'off' position ("I knew there was something he told me to tell you," My wife remembers.)
The mower is purring like a kitten and running under its own power now.
I move the car, put on my sunglasses, roll my shirt sleeves up, put on a hat, drive the 1967 Sears Suburban Lawn Tractor out of the garage, lower the mowing platform, engage the blades, shift into second gear for mowing, select "High" on the transmission tree and release the clutch. My wife has been on my ass to get this yard mowed since my arrival Saturday. Her and the kids need a machete to get to the car. The mower lurches forward, I cut a wide swatch of yard...then the steering mechanism disengages, falling from the chassis, stranding me in the field.
I will not go quietly!