Saturday, November 7, 2009

Zen and the Art of Raking Gum Balls

In the back yard of 310 S. Taft Ave. (where I grew up) towers of giant sweet gum tree.
My father cursed that tree. We all cursed that tree! Not really the tree itself, but the consequences of the tree: GUM BALLS!


Thousands of them every year.

Every Spring would bring the "ping" of gum balls off the aluminum siding of our house as they shot out of the lawn mower. "You have to rake the gum balls up FIRST, before you use the lawn mower," my mom and dad would yell at me while ducking another pointy projectile.


Of course, my brothers, sister and I tried everything to get out of raking the sharp, pointy spheres from hell; we never succeeded in getting out of it.

After we kids moved out, my mother and father planned to sell the house and built a new one. The first thing I noticed as I surveyed the building site was...
"Dad, isn't that a sweet gum tree in the back of the lot?"

I suppose that my father could have cut the monster down before they ever moved in; my father, for some unexplainable reason, kept it. Oh well, his problem.

It wasn't until my father became sick that I got to re-experience the wrath of gum balls.

Now, I come over to cut his grass and rake up my archenemy. It has been while fighting the good life that I keep believing that the Universe is trying to teach me some zen lessons such as gratitude, tolerance, accepting, patience, balance...

I'll continue to work on that.

In the meantime, I'll close with the following Sweet Gum Ball Serenity Prayer:

Lord, grant me the patience to accept the gum balls in my life, the courage to rake them up, and the wisdom to never buy or build a house with a sweet gum tree!

Sir Bowie "when life gives you gum balls, make?" of Greenbriar

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well young cubby I do believe you have learned your lesson well, and I, Grasshopper(mind), do dub you Zen master of Greenbriar. :))

I do like the idea of having a nemisis, arch - enemy and i'm now wondering what dogs the other knight and ladies lives.

The UK doesn't have Gumballs..so Mine?.... well i don't have a natural object as such...but every day I get up out of bed, and from dawn to the early hours I battle my inherent Lazyness and Discursive-ness. Luckily my powerful need to Create is my weapon against them, but should he stumble, they overpower him and tie him up for hours until he breaks free again.

Sir Dayvd, (who has stopped work, and is rambling again ) of Oxfordshire

Lady Suzanne of Greenbriar said...

Sycamore...huge leaves...we cut down the one here on Greenbriar...and we have at least one or two at the lake house...didn't learn the lesson very well did we?

arch-enemy? I would save that term for something more, enemy like...the trees didn't choose us, we chose the space where they were already growing

when our kids were little, Grandpa Chico used to get them to fill bags of gumballs as fun...until they got bigger and caught on to the "game"

raking leaves is zen-like

tonight we go to zen bonfire -
Guy Hawkes Day you know!
Burn the Guy!

Lady Suzzzzzzz

Anonymous said...

Bottle Rocket stick
In a Puddle
Along with the moon.


Sir Dayvd( who was making his way home in the dark, after a taking a casserole dish full of his spicy Faggots to a brilliant House-warming party ) of Oxfordshire

Sir Hook of Warrick aka "David K Wells" said...

Sir D, you might want to explain to our Colonial readers that in England a spicy Faggot is something you eat...but then I guess you can still engorge on a spicy Faggot here. Oh well! LOL!

Spicy Faggot
Rocket Stick attached to the Moon
Melts in your mouth

Sir Hook aka Bottle Rocket of Warrick

Tammy Howard said...

Hmmm - an archenemy? I'm not a fan of the dog hair that clings to everything in my house and even seems to waft through the very air. I don't consider it enough of an enemy to actually fight it very hard, though.

Lady T (who is far too lazy - I mean, mellow - to have a true nemesis)of P-town

P.S. - I never lived in a place where I had to actually deal with your gumballs, and if I had, my opinion would almost certainly be different, but I think they're really pretty. I bet they'd make a lovely wreath, or look pretty just displayed in a bowl. But I don't imagine I'd dig raking them (See above. Lazy - er, um, mellow...)

Anonymous said...

Sorry H.. you were away and out of the loop on that one.... The Cooks of the KMSA have already been sent the Faggot receipe a few blogs back...lol... and am hoping Booey and Tam liked their Faggot balls

here you go Hooky if you want to rattle those pots and pans in the kitchen and impress your pop's by handling a faggot.

http://greedydave.com/ffagod_a_pys