I was probably around ten years old when our father traded for an old pale-green, riding mower. Since our yard was almost two acres, and we always used push mowers, having a riding mower seemed like a great benefit for him. However, the belt for the blades kept snapping. After replacing the belt twice, he decided not to waste more money buying more belts. Instead, he said, “You have yourself a go-cart now.”
He took off the blades and blade housing and let me drive it around the yard. The only problematic issue with the mower was the clutch. When you pushed the clutch in to set the mower in gear, you had to release it slowly. If you didn’t, the front end shot upright like a horse trying to throw you or popping a wheelie on a bicycle. I must admit it was greatly amusing the first few times our father experienced this revelation, which actually was too dangerous to keep the blades on. Even though the blade-less mower wasn’t extremely fast, riding it was fun.
Several times, I got strange looks from passersby that had, at first, thought I was mowing grass and shockingly discovered the mower had no blades. Their incredulous stares were worth a thousand words. A mower go-cart probably sparked a bit of confusion for them.
Our father did tuneups for cars and often traded cars with other people in the area. Some of these folks got a kick out of seeing a mower being used as a go-cart. Each day after school, I’d ride it around the yard for a while, but one day I came home and the mower was gone. According to my mother, someone offered to buy it from our father and he sold it. Just like that, my ride was gone. That was a pattern of his. The fact that he’d given something to you didn’t matter. If someone came along, wanting to buy it, he’d sell without a second thought.
Before I was old enough to drive, he gave me three different cars. One was a Christmas present because we didn’t have money for Christmas, and each of these, he sold. I guess he didn’t remember or care that one was my present. He did the same to my oldest brother by selling a car he was promised. Our father’s word, at least to family members, was worthless.
But, for a few weeks, I had some fun with what could only be described as a Redneck Go-cart.