I now have a yard.
Let me explain.
For many years I have owned a succession of houses with little or no yards. They were lovely, big old homes, but completely devoid of any green space. Well, that changed recently when we bought a new house, and guess what it came with? That's right, a huge backyard.
Now to get to work on it.
I have grand plans for my yard. I am certain it will end up being my magnum opus. Or not. I dusted off my old, rarely used mower and gave the yard its first trimming. So far, so good.
The yard is hemmed in by a large fence. I bought a weed eater. I thought this would be great fun. I pictured myself swinging it with great aplomb, lopping off the errant weed here and there, giving my personal opus its final, well, "magnumosity."
But this chore turned out to be problematic. It was erratic. I constantly had to stop and pull out more cutting twine. The cord kept pulling out of the outdoor outlet. Twigs and sticks were flying everywhere. It was not a success.
I then moved on to a more-specific form of landscaping. Topiary design.
The front yard of my house features several large, lush bushes. I thought this would be my supreme palette.
I had visions of creating topiary images so stunning that I would certainly win the "Yard of the Month" award in my new neighborhood. I did not own a hedge trimmer, so I went and bought one. It is a monstrosity that evokes a jagged, horned sea monster. I planned my landscaping objectives carefully. Yes, this would be a yard to behold!
I approached the largest bush in the yard, one taller than me, and turned on my artist's tool. The hedge trimmer was so powerful that the first time I turned it on I was literally pulled in behind it. I struggled mightily to extricate myself from the demon shrub, hoping that none of my new neighbors drove by the house and saw my size-13 sneakers sticking out from the green bramble.
I decided that my topiary theme would be animals. A deer, a rabbit, a unicorn and a cat. Four bushes. Four works of art.
I gained control of the hedge trimmer and went to work. Switching, cutting, carving, trimming and molding my way through a wonderful afternoon of unbridled exuberance.
I felt the ghostly presence of that great trinity of legendary landscape masters, Olmsted, Vaux and Downing urging me on at every cut and snip. I even chuckled to myself as I remembered the movie "Edward Scissorhands," and soon I began to morph into somewhat of a Johnny Depp-like character (albeit with real hands).
Bush debris was flying through the air as I whipped the power cord around as easily as Will Rogers handled a lariat. The muscular drone of the hedge trimmer signaled to my neighbors near and far that "a man was on a mission." It was exhausting, but by God, I was doing "yardwork!"
I turned the monster hedge trimmer off, and the mid-afternoon air went silent. I smugly walked into the center of the street to view my masterpiece. Yes, it was time for the big reveal. I whirled around.
"Um, where is the deer?" I said silently to myself. Is it that one? No, that's the cat. I think. And why does the rabbit look like a deflated football? And where is the horn on the unicorn? In fact, where is the unicorn? The bushes on my front lawn looked as if a drunken tornado had danced through the area. Nothing made sense.
All that work and what to show for it? Just a mishmash of twisted branches, a wet T-shirt, a floppy sneaker and a sore knee. I was sad. No "Yard of the Month" award for me. Oh, well. As they say in Cleveland, "there is always next year."
Whenever I call my mother in Sidney and ask her what she has been doing, she says, "Oh, I have been out doing some yardwork." She has said that every day for over a half-century. My mother-in-law, Phyllis Newell, possesses the greenest thumb of any human being I have ever met. She loves doing her "yardwork" and has turned her Hartwick homestead property into a botanical masterpiece worthy of any Thomas Kinkade painting.
Yard work. Actually, I think it is a bit overrated.
I'll catch you in two ...
"Big Chuck" D'Imperio can be heard on weekdays beginning at 6 a.m. on WDOS-AM 730 in Oneonta, and also on Thursday nights from 7-9 p.m. on WSRK-FM 103.9 for his "Oldies Jukebox Show." You can find "Big Chuck" on Facebook under Upstate New York Books. He invites you to contact him at email@example.com. His columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/bigchuck.
I now have a yard.
- Big Chuck
Gilbert Lake a jewel among N.Y. parks
New York does quite a few things right, and misses the mark on things almost as many times. But nobody does a state park quite like New York does.
Baseball cards: Different spokes for different folks
Baseball cards as an investment? Fugetaboutit!
It's just a short drive down my memory lane
Oh, if my old man's car could talk.
Sept. 11 Museum is sobering, inspiring
I visited the September 11, 2001 Memorial Museum in New York City last weekend.
Remembering the singing cowboy
There were not a lot of job openings for a kid of 8 back in 1957. Some of my friends wanted to be firemen and a couple wanted to be professional baseball players. Maybe a cop, a teacher or a soldier or two. And the weird kid up on the corner wanted to be president of the United States some day. Dreamers, all. Thinking way above their heads. Me, I was a realist. I wanted to be a singing cowboy.
- Monday, May 19, 2014
The plain plane truth ruins CNN
Bye-bye CNN. It's been nice to know you.
- Monday, May 5, 2014
Laurens mall was no mere child's play
Shop local. And shop often.
- Monday, April 21, 2014
Woodstock continues to provide memories
I went to Woodstock last weekend. No, not the concert site. The village.
- Monday, April 7, 2014
Let's put a check on 'check engine' light
The absolute worst thing that can befall a driver happened to me on the way to work this morning. The one singular auto event that can send shivers of fear and panic up the spine of even the most seasoned road warrior.
- Monday, March 24, 2014
Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks
It has been a while since we opened up the readers' mailbag, so let's see what is in there.
- Monday, March 10, 2014
1965 Oscars? Thanks for the memories
Well, the 86th Academy Awards are over. And for the record, I did a pretty good job in my Daily Star Oscar picks. I got them all right except one. Cate Blanchett was the spoiler in my clean sweep. Not bad, if I do say so myself.
- Monday, February 24, 2014
There was just no telling about snow days
Winters get harder as we get older. Things change. It snows more. It snows less. It gets colder. It's a lot milder. It all changes as our knees start to creak and the thought of shoveling a foot of snow seems positively daunting.
- Monday, February 10, 2014
And the music goes round and round
The day has finally arrived.
- Monday, January 27, 2014
When did pranks turn into vandalism?
I was a teenage vandal.
- Monday, January 13, 2014
Happy and sad memories of Jan. 7, 1966
Jan. 7 is always a big celebration day in the D'Imperio family. My twin sisters, Teri and Mary, plus my youngest daughter, Katie, all share it as a birthday. The date, however, is not without a dark significance.
- Monday, December 30, 2013
Lesser known greats that passed away in 2013
The year 2013 is drawing to a close and as it does I would like to give a tip of the hat and a fond goodbye to a group of famous people who left the world stage. Their departures will be noted here in this column although they may have missed a final adios in the major media outlets. Letâ€™s give them their moment in the sun.
- Monday, December 16, 2013
Reunions all the sweeter amid WWII
There is nothing like running into old friends in the most unexpected places. Like on a vacation, or in a mall or even in the supermarket. It is always a time for a â€œHail and how are you?â€� moment.
- Monday, December 2, 2013
There's no tough sledding when you're a youngster|
Winter weather is here. And so are outdoor winter activities.
- Monday, November 18, 2013
Vroman's Nose hike is no walk in the park
I haven't gone on a hike since 1961 when President Kennedy asked all Americans to take a 50-mile hike for physical fitness. I did it then. With a large group of my schoolmates and friends. We walked from Sidney to Oneonta and back.
- Monday, November 4, 2013
Being a grandpa will be better than just OK
I am going to be a grandfather.
- Gilbert Lake a jewel among N.Y. parks