Pulling weeds, lots of Advil

It’s been an Advil week around our house.
It all started the weekend before last, while we were walking our dogs around the neighborhood. Jenny was admiring everybody’s yards.

“We have one of the worst-looking lawns in the neighborhood,” she said. “Our yard is full of weeds.”
I had to admit that after our lawn was fertilized, the grass started growing a little, but the weeds really took off.
These were a kind of weed we’d never noticed before.
The leaves were full, several inches long, and the stems stood prouder and taller than anything else in our lawn.
Once upon a time, we had a lawn full of violets at our house in Alabama.
Jenny loved how pretty they were in the spring, but their sweet little purple faces drove me nuts. Not only did they look terrible, they held a lot of water and clogged my lawn mower whenever I cut the grass … and the violets. It was a plague that the lawn service took care of.
I started thinking about how my father used to be death to weeds.
He’d walk around with his pocketknife, digging in right next to the stems, and uprooting them in an instant.
One of the best things about this new breed of weed is how shallow the roots are. This should be no problem.
“Maybe I’ll just pull a few of the weeds out of the front yard before I mow,” I told Jenny.
“Why don’t you just call the lawn service and have them spray?” she asked.
Because I’m stubborn, I thought.
Sunday afternoon I donned my straw hat, put on my garden gloves and went outside.
The weeds pulled easily and it was sort of fun – for about 20 minutes. By then, the sweat was streaming down my bald head and dripping into my eyes.
But the small patch of lawn I had cleared of weeds looked really nice. I decided to do another strip.
After a while, Jenny came out to check on me.
‘It’s awfully hot out here. You need to stop before you have a heart attack. You’re going to be too sore to walk tomorrow,” she said.
Being me (stubborn), I took that as a challenge.
There was no way I was going to quit.
Three hours of crawling around on my hands and knees – and four big tumblers of iced tea – later, I had cleared the yard of most of the weeds.
Then I mowed what was left.
She was right, of course. By Monday morning, my legs ached, my arms ached, my wrists hurt and I was sunburned. I had three Advils before I even got to work.
I was worn out most of the week, but each afternoon, we would admire my handiwork while walking our dogs.
By Thursday, though, I noticed several of the pesky little weeds had returned. And by the weekend, with the help of rainy weather, there was a whole new crop.
It’s too wet to get out there and pull weeds, I rationalized. Maybe another time.
Or maybe not.

T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at publishe@newalbanygazette.com.