Daddy Talk: Raking
By Tim Krason
Sometime in December, for the first time at our “new” house, I engaged in that most futile of fall activities — raking leaves. I have never been a leaf-raking enthusiast, but whatever desire still remained in my heart for a meticulously landscaped autumn lawn must have died over the past five years when we lived in our prior house. There, the trees were pretty well spread out to begin with, so the leaves didn’t seem to gather or get in the way. But at our current house, we apparently have dense forests o f—I don’t really know the names of trees, but each leaf is easily the size of a frisbee. In some countries, I’m sure that they could be used to fan the royalty.
I was already pondering whether I needed to dig out my old rake when my wife, Ashley, forced my hand by observing that motorists in our neighborhood could no longer discern between our yard, our driveway, and the road itself. She was right, of course, and I started thinking that a good raking may not only make our borders visible but also make a good, tidy impression for our neighbors.
So one afternoon, I exited the house, rake in hand, and began moving leaves around. This task was more difficult than I expected because the leaves were so big and layered that the feeling was more like wading through a Chuck E. Cheese ball pit, trying to rake the balls with a canoe paddle. Just when I had started making some progress, a couple of our children ran outside excitedly, and promptly bellyflopped into the pile that I had just begun molding.
Around that same time, my wife came out to help, so I seized the opportunity to go work on something else. Namely, I noticed that a lot of leaves had begun gathering in the different angles on our house’s roof and in the gutters — again, something that didn’t happen at our old house. But here, I started getting paranoid about all those leaves piling up on the roof. I feared that rainwater could maybe get backed up and start leaking through. Or some suburban avalanche could happen, endangering the neighborhood children. Or maybe the weight could result in a complete collapse, like during a heavy snow in those Arctic survivalist shows.
In any event, I climbed up on the roof and started sweeping leaves toward the edges of the roof. Again, the sheer amount of leaves that I found myself pushing was preposterous. No sooner did I start dumping them over the side of the house that my wife started yelling in my direction. She had apparently already raked that side of the yard. But at that point, with a broom in hand, and a wall of leaves teetering on the edge of my shingles, I didn’t see any logical alternative, so I just announced flatly that there’s more where that came from and continued to push the pile into the yard, a Niagara Falls of frisbee-sized leaves. I don’t think Ashley raked any more leaves that day.
I wish I could conclude this story by saying I finished raking the front yard and impressed all of my new neighbors. Sadly, I cannot. I filled about four trash bags and, seeing that it was getting dark, I went inside, leaving in the yard about half a dozen leaf piles the size of Natchez Trace Indian Mounds. Undoubtedly, all the neighbors are shaking their heads… again. When they walk by my house they can add to, “Those are the people with the dog,” with, “And they really stink at yardwork.”