Summer Sounds: Lawnmower

For our Summer Sounds series, writer Stefan Shepherd recalls the sound of the old gas mower he had the privilege of operating as kid. It was a lot of work, but it made him feel grown up.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

From school attack to summer tech, we have a love letter now to a piece of machinery that is as much a part of the season as baseball and barbecue. It is the lawnmower, and it's the latest in our series Summer Sounds.

(Soundbite of sound effects and song, "Summertime, Summertime")

THE JAMIES (Band): (Singing) It's summertime.

Mr. STEFAN SHEPHERD (Blogger, Zooglobble.com): I'm Stefan Shepherd. I'm a father of two in Phoenix, Arizona. And I write the kids music blog Zooglobble.com.

(Soundbite of a lawnmower)

Mr. SHEPHERD: Once I was old enough to operate machinery, I took over the weekend chore of mowing our lawn, front and back, for my dad.

(Soundbite of a lawnmower)

Mr. SHEPHERD: The sound was loud and obnoxious. But it also meant that I had been given a little bit more responsibility, trusted to help make sure our yard looked respectable. Up and down, in straight lines, and along the curved edges of the flowerbeds, I would sweatily(ph) push our gas mower.

Now I have a house of my own, a lawn of my own, and kids of my own. I even have a lawnmower of my own. It's electric, though, and quieter than those gas models, not to mention a heck of a lot easier to start. It's still loud enough ironically to drown out other distractions. It's 45 minutes worth of meditation.

It still reminds me of responsibility, though, of all the daily and weekly tasks we parents do to keep our kids somewhat unaware of just how much work goes into creating a world in which they can still be kids, to run around in the grass or maybe pull out a sprinkler to jump around in.

It's what keeps me from ripping up the lawn and putting in desert landscaping. But I can't wait for my kids to start mowing the lawn, too.

(Soundbite of a lawnmower)

SIEGEL: That's children's music blogger Stefan Shepherd of Phoenix, Arizona, and his summer sound.

We'd like to hear about your favorite summer sound. Just go to NPR.org and click on Contact Us and be sure to write Summer Sounds in the subject line.

(Soundbite of song, "Green Green Grass of Home")

Mr. PORTER WAGONER (Singer): (Singing) Smiling sweetly, it's so good to touch the green, green grass of home.

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