Yesterday, my wife and I were sitting on the front porch, enjoying the cool of the evening, while observing our new White neighbors…
Yes, new White neighbors!
We get them by times in our middle-class neighborhood, and it’s actually a good thing. For one, it means your property values are about to go up, unless, of course, it’s one of those trailer-park refugees that hit it big on a scratch ticket. Then, you got problems. As the old saying goes, “You can take a White woman out of the trailer park, but you can’t take the trailer park out of the White woman.”
But, fortunately, our new neighbor didn’t come from a double-wide, no sir. They kept the lawn clean, put up the kids’ toys at the end of the day, mowed their grass once a week, I mean good, quality White folks, the kind you proudly introduce to your kinfolks and friends.
As a matter of fact, that’s what Miz Lacy was doing, mowing her lawn…
Speaking of that, when was the last time you saw a Black woman cutting grass? You see sweaty White women all the time, wearing too-tight Farah Fawcett shorts, pasty white thighs straining, trying to push a lawn mower. But Black women? No, indeed not!
(Well, I saw a Black Lesbian cutting grass, one time, but she was trying to prove a point. As if I cared, y’know? When you finish with your grass, Butch, come do mine! Ha!)
“See?” I said to my wife, trying to give her a gentle hint, “Look at Miz Lacy, takin’ care of bitness!”
“Are you crazy?” my wife replied, “It’s too dang hot to be out here, clowning with a lawnmower!”
“Well, Baby, whaddya think? It’s June, it’s supposed to be hot! That’s when the grass grows, when it’s hot!”
“And…what does that have to do with me? That aint my job to cut the grass, it’s yours!” She was indignant, like I had asked her to dance on a pole or something.
“Look at ol’ Lacy,” I responded coolly, knowing I was right. “She’s pushing her lawn mower right now. She pushing hard, too.”
“That heifer need to push two lawn mowers,” she answered, laughing. “Take a look at the thighs on that White woman! Look like two big hams! Two big flat hams! Haaa!” She laughed, then her face changed. “Why you lookin’ at that heifer’s thighs?”
“Nice,” I said admiringly, shading my eyes for a better view.
“Say what?” She raised up in her chair, ready for battle.
“Commercial high wheel, extended deck mulching lawn mower with 5 hp Briggs & Stratton engine,” I said, ignoring her hand tightly gripping her glass of iced tea, “Nice!” I looked at her with Expression #3, Innocent Straight Face. “What did you say?”
“Never mind,” she answered, still suspicious, but unable to prove anything. Don’t ask me what annoys women more, the idea of her husband looking at another woman, or not being to catch him at it. All I know is, both of them feel good to men, trust me.
Lacy’s mower suddenly stopped. She pulled the starter cord several times, but nothing. She pulled it another time, real hard, making everything jiggle. She bent over, and I thought about saying “Nice” again, but I changed my mind. No use being greedy.
“Humph,” my wife said, trying to look like she wasn’t trying to see if I was looking, but she wasn’t fooling me any. Women just can’t help themselves.
Lacy turned, saw us, and waved. “Hey, there, neighbors!” she yelled.
“Aw, hell,” my wife muttered, smiling and waving back. “I hope she stay put—dang!”
Lacy walked across the street toward us, pulling her Briggs & Stratton along behind her. “I know she don’t think I’m gonna help her with that,” my wife mumbling under her breath again, switching to Expression 94B—Cheerful Curiosity. “Need some help?” my wife chirped.
I looked at her, but kept quiet. Sometimes it’s just best to let things play themselves out. You have to be careful when your wife gets chirpy on you. Nothing good ever comes out of chirpy, trust me.
“Oh, yes,” Lacy said. “This is my mother-in-law’s lawn mower, and it’s just as cranky and ill-tempered as she is. It can be so annoying, you know what I mean?”
“Lord, yes,” my wife answered. I turned, and shot her Expression 12—We’ll Discuss This Later. She shot me a quick Whatever, and asked Lacy,” Would you like a glass of tea while my husband takes a look at it? Go get your tools, baby.”
So, there it was, neatly played. Check, and mate. No need to argue, just get up with your dignity intact.
I stood, taking a deep breath. Where in the hell was her husband, and why didn’t he get first crack at it? What the heck, I was already drafted for mechanic duty, so asking the question wouldn’t hurt. “Where’s Robert?” I ignored my wife’s # 63 Mind Your Business, and smiled expectantly at Lacy.
“Oh, he’s in the house, somewhere,” she answered with a dismissive wave of the hand, “You know how he is…”
Yes, I did. Robert was strange.