The Tyranny of the Lawn

This incredibly rainy summer has resulted in my Cape Cod lawn actually living and thriving through August like some fescue exhibition test farm owned by a lawn products company. The damn thing is growing despite my best efforts to kill it, replenished by the banks of rain that have ruined baseball games, made children sullen, and horrified poor renters who have dropped $2,000 a week to sit inside and stare at the verdant wet green lawns of Cotuit.

A year ago HBO produced a mini-series on the lif e of President John Quincy Adams based on David McCullough’s wonderful biography. The scenes that struck me the most were of Adams’ homestead in Braintree, south of Boston, and the chaos that was his so-called lawn. A mess of flowers, waist high grass, and a living lawnmower or too that bleated” Baaa.”  Oh to be a colonial and not own a Honda power mover or pay the landscaper $100 every week to keep the weeds at bay.

Reverend Jeremy popped by yesterday to commiserate about the fall of the Kettleers and to ask if one of my kids would mow his lawn while he travels. Seeing as we’re both smack in the center of the village, across from the green and the library, there is a bit of a social contract to keep the place looking nice, so I gladly volunteered Junior for the task.

But what if there were no mowers? I suspect in this summer of foreclosures there are a lot of unmowed lawns in America. I read an article recently about one midwestern city that just shows up and mows a property owner’s turf and then sends them a bill.  So now we can add short grass to taxes and other losses of our libertarian rights ……

Back I go to cut yet more grass, a fine waste of a sunny Sunday before popping over to Beijing for a week.

These are the days of miracle and wonder ….

I am missing the Cape Cod Baseball League finals this week — and was a bit annoyed I had to go to NYC yesterday and on to North Carolina during the last week of the season when the Cotuit Kettleers have a good shot at the championship. I saw three games this past weekend — Friday’s victory over Wareham, Saturday’s away victory over Eastern Division champs Yarmouth-Dennis, and Sunday’s 10-5 home loss to Y-D. Missing the end of the season hurts.

The make or break game was yesterday back at Dennis, series tied at 1-1 with the first pitch at 3 and I was in a meeting overlooking Bryant Park on 42nd Street in a nasty muggy August heatwave.

I got into the back of the cab to LaGuardia and googled on my blackberry for a score. Instead I discovered an 800 number I could dial for a live play-by-play.  So I dialed, and as I rolled along in the back of the cab along the East River I heard the disembodied voice of the broadcast interns, Aaron Pepper and Josh Weinstock, say Cotuit was leading an astonishing 11 to 1.

I started cheering.

At the airport I found a 3G connection and lit up a live video stream, watching the game to its incredibly lopsided 18 to 4 conclusion. Is it me, or do we indeed live in an age of miracles when a little wooden bat college league can transmit itself to a tiny audience like me? The long tail indeed.

Tonight, more of the same at 7 pm in the best of three finals at Bourne. if you are remote, then the miracle of the interwebs will bring you all the game action from the first pitch through the last out.

Whereabouts week of Aug. 9

Monday – NYC: quick meetings and then onwards to Raleigh

Tuesday – Thursday:  North Carolina

Friday – Sunday: Cotuit

Beijing the following week.

This time last year I was in the basement of Grand Hyatt in Beijing wearing a polyester uniform wondering how to get tickets to the Olympic rowing finals.

Whereabouts August 4-5

Tuesday – today, off to Raleigh to pick up a new device, then off to London for the redeye to Heathrow and …

Wednesday – meetings at the Sofitel at Heathrow (thank god for showers upon arrival at the Admiral’s club) then a 7:30 pm BA flight to Boston arriving Wednesday night.

Thursday – I pass out

Friday work from home in Cotuit

So much for a week of vacation. At least there are no Olympics this August.

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