The soft spring rain fell gently on the rusting metal carcass abandoned in the tall grass on the side of the garage.

I tried to avert my gaze as I walked by, but could not. Guilt washed over my soul as I approached the poor machine. After 10 years of loyal service, it now sat derelict, its once shiny green paint on the deck flaking away in a futile attempt to escape the unrelenting rust. The grimy, but reliable engine that once roared to life with each and every yank of the cord sat silenced forever. Never again would its pockmarked blade shred the verdant grass, clover, dandelions that covered my lawn, nor the occasional rock or dog poo.

My trusty lawnmower was dead. It deserved better than this.

Adding insult to injury, I am now using a borrowed lawnmower older than it. The loaner has less horsepower, a smaller deck and no self-propulsion. It takes me about 20 minutes longer and 20 percent more sweat to finish the job andndash; the consequences of being a traitor, I suppose.

It's just a lawnmower, you say?

No, it's more than that. We were partners, working in unison to cut the grass week after week. For an hour or so, it was just the mower and me andndash; outside in the fresh air, no interruptions, no stress, just the comforting drone of the gasoline-power engine. It was a zen zone. It's probably the closest I'll ever come to riding a Harley.

I remember the day we first met. The salesman went on and on about cam size, horsepower and other things I had absolutely no interest in. I was captivated by it's sleek curves and oversized rear wheels. Love at first sight!

I was intrigued by this thing called "self-propelled," which I quickly learned is not the same as remote controlled. I would still have to push the thing.

I asked the salesman if it had a "doo doo detector" andndash; a device to alert me to the dreaded piles hiding in the grass before the spinning blade did.


Geez, we can send a man into space and use GPS to find the nearest bathroom, but no "poo detector?" What is NASA spending are tax dollars on?

Still, that didn't stop me from falling for my lawnmower. It had two big rear tires!

Yet, it wasn't enough. I'm ashamed to admit it, but in the last few years before my lawnmower went to the great lawn in the sky, I often would pull the advertising circulars hidden under the mattress and sneek peeks at the sleek, shiny lawnmowers for sale. Several times my wife accused me of linger a little too long in the lawnmower section at the hardware store.

Do they have a 12-step program for lawnmower addiction?

At least I'm not alone in my grief over losing my blade-spinning, gas-burning friend. I still have my trusted weed trimmer and 12-year-old barbecue. However, the barbecue is not looking so hot andhellip; so to speak andndash; another victim of rust. I've replaced the burner and lava rocks twice, and I was hoping to nurse it through one more summer.

I'd hate to lose another trusted companion, but if the barbecue doesn't make it, there's still room left on the side of the garage. And I still have those advertising circulars under the mattress.