Farewell, my Deere

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Andy Sauer

Andy Sauer

My lawnmower, my faithful mount for 12 years, has cut its last lawn.

When I first moved to Suffield, I brought my cheap mower from West Hartford. It met its match shortly after being rolled off the truck and choking on the overgrown blades of field grass.

It was time to upgrade. Understand, I am a product of suburbia where it is believed that most needs can be satisfied at a major store. I went to the nearest big box retailer and plunked $2,700 on the shiny John Deere riding mower on display. You can’t go wrong with John Deere, right?

I learned not all John Deere mowers were created equally.

For starters, the mower I possessed was designed for one acre of lawn. I have four. Also, part of my yard is on a hill, and either the salesman misunderstood my description of “steep incline” or was just trying to sell a suburban rube an underpowered mower. Either way, I soon learned what a hydrostatic transmission was and that I needed a new one.

I have replaced blades, belts, bulbs, batteries, chutes, spindles, a stator and, yes, a hydrostatic transmission. About the only original parts on the mower are the engine and the frame it rests on. Even the hood gave up the ghost two years ago, making it look like the kind of mower Mad Max would use in a “Road Warrior” movie.

And, yet, it still ran.

One recent afternoon, my buddy Bob stopped by as I was cursing my Deere for its latest malady.

“After 12 years and everything you’ve put it through, this thing’s still running?” he exclaimed. “I think you got your money’s worth.”

It’s true, and I admit I have not been the most conscientious owner. I have run over so many things that shouldn’t be run over. I have used it as a quasi-brush hog. It has pulled wagons overfilled with rocks. And, I didn’t change the oil as much as I should have. I always thought I’d have more time.

Sunday, I went to run it for a quick cut of the hill, and it didn’t even turn over. It was running just fine the day before. It could be a few things, but there’s nothing worse than throwing parts at a problem. I called it. This mower’s been through enough. Maybe in the winter, I’ll tinker with it and get it running. I’ll get a new hood and maybe we can use it for light gardening.

But, for now, rest in peace, old friend.

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