Hot! A Momentary Lapse Of Mowing

Old Red's backyard after it was violated by a hired mower.

This is part 2 of a 2 part interview with Old Red, the legendary Toro 2 cycle, formerly self-propelled now turned push mower, currently the active all-time mowing leader in the world with 1,022 career mows. As previously noted in the first segment of this report, Old Red was rumored to be on the trade-in block, or perhaps, headed for the scrap heap.

Mowing Weekly Editor Emeritus, Scotty Green, traveled to Old Red’s home turf in south central Wisconsin on Sunday, October 6th, to conduct the interview. He stayed through until the early morning hours of October 8th, enduring a traumatic evening with the aging mower as they watched in horror as a young boy, under the supervision of his father, accept payment from Old Red’s owner, Pat Heffling, and mow Old Red’s lawn, late in the afternoon on Monday, October 7th.

It should be noted that as the conclusion of this interview unfolded, Old Red at times became hallucinogenic and somewhat, well, OK, very inebriated. Nonetheless, he insisted we adhere to the principles of this journalistic agreement, and never once did he ask for portions of this interview to be “off the record”. did, however, edit out some segments that contained harsh profanity or may have left both parties open to investigation from local law enforcement agencies. (i.e. DEA)

We resume the interview now, recorded late on the evening of October 7th:

SG: You were saying, perhaps your owner, Heffling, has fallen upon dire straits, and that, inexplicably, perhaps in a state of delusion, he hired a rogue mower to cut your lawn. What we just witnessed here tonight was proof enough of that, how are you feeling now?
OR: (At this point in the interview Old Red was off the Red Stripe, nursing a Crown Royal on the rocks instead, and drawing lazily on a certain left-handed cigarette that had replaced the Marlboro Reds). It’s just surreal. To see another mower on your turf…words can’t describe it. My first instinct was to take a blade to him, but a clearer motor prevailed.
SG: Why do you think this happened?
OR: First off, let’s get one thing straight. The fact that this lawn has been cut by a hired mower technically ends my “consecutive cuts on a single lawn” streak. Unless I can figure out some sort of haphazard appeal, that record will be in jeopardy.
SG: But aren’t all records meant to be broken?
OR: Of course they are, you’re exactly right…but to see another blade on the grass you’ve called your own for the last eight years…it’s, it’s just sickening. (Pours another three fingers of Crown)
SG: Old Red, listen to me, before this all happened you had disclosed different theories as to just what exactly prompted Heffling to enable such an unfathomable deed as this. Now that you’ve witnessed this atrocity, do any of your theories make more sense than another?
OR:(Long pause, slurring his words)…You have to admit the lawn looks really good. These young mowers today have all the tools that I never had. The scent of the fresh cut grass…you can’t imagine what that did to me. And geezuz, he sure was a hell of a lot easier on the ears than I am…
SG: Red, stay with me here, have you come to a conclusion as to what really happened, and what your future holds?
OR: I would imagine at this point in this discussion I should probably ask you to turn that off (points at my recorder)
…but I’ll lay it out there for you anyway, ‘cuz a deals a deal, right? Look, I’m not doing this for the money, “strictly cash”, as my friend Musky Don likes to say, (Old Red refused any payment in cash for this interview, however, we did acquiesce to his request for an undisclosed amount of Crown Royal, Red Stripe and Marlboro Reds)…but sometimes there are things that should just stay between a mower’s blades and his owner, but what the hell, here we go. Here’s what I know…fact…Heffling wound up in the hospital for an emergency surgery… detached retina, I believe. Seems the first cataract they repaired last year cashed the 200-1 shot that it would wind up that way. Funny how things work out in life, ya know? The guy can’t catch a 21 at Blackjack but he nails the longshot on a detached retina.
SG: But what does that have to do with the mower for hire?
OR: (Stammering, trailing off) It’s just..I can’t get in gear…too loud…stones…
(Old Red was plainly struggling at this point to piece together coherent sentences, much of this segment was inaudible, so we took a break. After about an hour, around midnight, we resumed the discussion).
OR: Sorry about that Scotty, guess I can’t run with the 4-cycles like I used to. Anyway, as I was saying, Heffling has this emergency surgery (on Tuesday) and part of the recovery is that he can’t even pull the cord on a push mower for two weeks, maybe more. Something to do with a bubble in his eye, bizarre. Ahem, thus the juvenile on the turf last night. (hiccups).And the mysterious walks around the block, he’s basically under house arrest for at least 10 days. True story.
SG: You mean to tell me all the trade-in rumors and you being shipped off to the great parts shop in the sky are all false?
OR: (still hiccupping)…Yep. Seems like ‘ol Heffling is just trying to get things straightened out for the rest of this year and then we’ll “look” ahead at next season…no pun intended. He came and talked to me last night…full disclosure…apologizing up and down the yard…for the kid out back…said it crushed him more than I could ever know…for not mowing with me Monday night (it rained)…that would have kept the streak alive…said he never dreamed someone else would push another mower on our turf..but grass is grass and it had to mowed.
SG: But why not ask a friend, a neighbor, or his brother Fred, at least that way you still would have had your blades on the grass?
OR: Doesn’t matter, he knew, as I do too, that once the owner (or pusher) is off the wheels of the mower in question the WMC considers it a rogue mow. Didn’t really make a difference. Turns out this kid, Bo, does Schrum’s lawn (neighbor) and he cuts grass for the Pope! (laughs hysterically)
SG: The Pope?
OR: Yeah…(still chuckling)… Janine Pope…lives next door to Bill and Kathy! (at this moment Old Red collapsed, er, passed out, and the interview was over).

Epilogue: Old Red and Heffling are appealing the end of his “consecutive mows on a home turf” streak, citing a medical leave loophole in lawn mowing rules dating back to the early 1960’s, when lawn mowing was exploding across the country at a record pace.

Despite the fact that Old Red failed to cut his own lawn Monday night, there is still a chance, depending on the speed of Heffling’s recovery, that the legendary mower might get another turn or two in 2013, and certainly many more next season, padding his all-time mowing record. Don’t put your ear plugs away just yet.

-Scotty Green, for Mowing Weekly

And For What

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