It was about half way through Friday before I got to the Jackson’s house. By then I had been steady at it for a good 6 hours and I probably still had another 5 to go before I would call it a day.
It was past noon now so the sun wasn’t directly overhead but it was August in North Carolina so the hottest part of the day was still out ahead of me. It wasn’t unusual for me to sweat off 10 pounds on a day like this. My shirt, long past soaking wet had been discarded a couple of houses back… I’m thinking around Miss Chesson’s house probably. The sweat was so profuse that you could even see the sweat stains along with all of the grass stains on my old Chuck Taylor’s that I wore on such occasions.
The weight of the gas can was getting light as I moved from yard to yard and I often wondered just how many miles those wheels had turned and how many hours that old Briggs and Stratton 3.5 hp engine had run without ever hesitating over the years. Just gas and oil and a yank on the rope and away we would go… yard after yard… mile after exhausting mile.
But this was the Jackson’s house… which meant something special. Yeah, it was great that they had those large pecan trees in the back yard that would provide some much needed shade but what really help me survive the day was tucked up next to the old garage out back. As I came around the side yard, I could see it. It was bright red. So bright that it was like you could see if from a mile away. But I didn’t rush right over. No, I would continue to cut until I got right up to it and then I would cut the mower off and stop.
Mr. Jackson always knew about what time I would get there so there was a freshly washed pint size Mason jar sitting on the ground right next too it. Emblazoned across the top were the words I wanted to see… Sanders Co. Inc Elizabeth City, N.C. That was the finest in hand water pumps that could be found anywhere. The ground water temperature from the well under that pump was a constant 65 degrees and I could hardly wait to get that jar full and start drinking. I would drink it so fast that the water would run out of the corners of my mouth and all over me… I didn’t care a bit. At that moment in time, I knew what Heaven must feel like.
As I think back on it, that may very well be the best jar of water I ever had. Thank you, Mr. Jackson… time to yank the rope and get back at it….