Curmudgeon stubbornly clings to leaf rake

Curmudgeon stubbornly clings to leaf rake

My son-in-law is a gadget guy. If there’s something that needs done and technology can make it easier, faster or slicker in any way, he’ll go for the gizmo every time. It’s a pure and honest obsession. Educated as an engineer, technology has been Andrew’s thing for as long as he’s had a thing.

While I’d never proclaim myself a fully anti-gadget guy, I do believe there are a handful of things in this world that can and should be done without technological intervention. For instance, I can easily sink a spade into my small garden plot to turn the soil rather than fire up a rototiller to smog up the entire back yard. I also can keep my sidewalk cleared in all but the most blizzard-like conditions using nothing more than a d-handled scoop shovel and a little elbow grease — just as long as I’m strapped into that stretchy “back girdle” thing that keeps me from blowing my lumbar to bits. (Yes, I am getting to bethat old.)

And finally, I can most certainly gather all the leaves from my small city lot with a simple leaf rake rather than fracturing the crisp, golden silence of an autumn afternoon with one of the most obnoxious inventions of modern man — the power leaf blower.

When he visited last time, Andrew offered to take care of the leaves for me.

“The next time I’m up, I’ll bring my leaf blower with me and knock this out in a half-hour,” he said.

Unwilling to dampen his enthusiasm, I simply said, “Wow, that’s really nice of you to offer.”

It was really nice, but allow me to go full curmudgeon here for a moment or two. In my estimation there are few things more capable of doing the job for which they were invented than the good, old manually operated leaf rake. And while I’m sure the original leaf rake has undergone a slow evolution with a bend here, a twist there and an upgrade of materials, the concept remains essentially the same.

My current implement is a wide-arced plastic job with a padded handle with a hole in the end so I can hang it from a nail in the shed. Fancy, I know, but it still requires the same hand-elbow-shoulder power plant to make it work. All that stuff still works on me, so I might as well use it while I can.

Knowing I’d have a hard time explaining my whole “leaf rake ethos” to a life-long gadget guy, I spent three hours last night raking the entire yard clean in the small puddle of light illuminated by my headlamp (don’t call it a gadget) — this in order to head off the need to even have the conversation.

Andrew will arrive tomorrow, jet pack in hand and heart full of “get ‘er done” enthusiasm, but with nary a leaf to blow. I will thank him profusely for his effort, probably adding some nonsense like “It really looked like rain in the forecast, so I figured I’d better knock it out while I could.” Sometimes no explanation is the best explanation of all.

Kristin and John Lorson would love to hear from you. Write Drawing Laughter, P.O. Box 170, Fredericksburg, OH 44627, or email

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