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05/31/2004 Entry: "Wanna hear something weird?"

I was driving to Jam Fest on Saturday morning. As is my custom, I was listening to Click and Clack on NPR. Some caller mentions something about Memorial Day, and that gets me thinking about how three generations of Batty men served their country in the Coast Guard. (Thankfully, none was asked to make the ultimate sacrifice.) During the show, the guys take two breaks, and just before those breaks, they play some kind of car-related song. This week, it was some guy waxing rhapsodic about a go-cart he had had as a boy. Five horsepower, four-stroke, yadda-yadda. Then the chorus: "I'm still a Briggs and Straton man." My brain liked the joke, and I laughed. A split second later--really, just a breath passed--my heart caught the referrence, and I was balling my eyes out. From laugh to full blown cry in a heart beat. Those thoughts of my grandfather earlier must have had the pump primed, so to speak. Father was a whiz with small engines, and he too was a Briggs and Straton man. I remember something he said to me while I was living in St. George. He gave me an ancient mower for my lawn. It had a little 18" deck, non adjustable wheels and throttle, but had a full 3 1/2 horsepower motor on it. I mentioned to him one spring while he was tuning it up that no matter how high the grass got (lawn mowing not being high on my priority list, especially living in the backwoods of St George), that mower would still cut it.

"Now that thing will cut grass," he said.

It sure did.

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