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My Personal Side

By Craig Hastings
It was time to let ‘em go and move on.  No, not my boys but some of their old outdoor activity machines.  Two weekends ago when we were blessed with nearly 70 degree temperatures for two days in a row, I decided to do some spring cleaning.  I’m not a hoarder by any means but, I won’t let go of many things easily.  Anyway, I just completed an addition to my stand alone garage in my backyard.  The addition along with what was already there has eaten up most of my back yard.  The only yard I have left to mow is not much.  I also sold a property I owned downtown last fall that needed mowed most weeks in the spring, summer, and fall.  Because both of these changes removed about two thirds of my mowing square footage I decided to sell my riding lawn mower.  My riding mower certainly wasn’t anything special so selling it shouldn’t be too difficult but where can I move it quickly?  It’s Friday afternoon.

Shannon, who was helping me with the cleanup, said she would list it on some Facebook this or that page. I have no idea how any of that works so I told her to go ahead. She took a couple of pictures, asked me a couple of questions about it and…boom, posted. Unbelievably in less than five minutes we had two inquiries. Fifteen minutes more and three more interested parties. Within an hour a dozen people were asking questions about this simple mower. We had one person offering more money than the asking price if I would sell it out from under the guy I agreed to hold it for until Saturday morning! I can’t be critical of this guy though because years ago I tried the same thing on a car I was trying to buy from a private party!

Saturday morning rolled around, the interested buyer, also the first guy that had inquired, showed up on time and after a brief ride he bought it. I told him I thought I had a rear bagger for it in my garage somewhere if he was interested. He was so I had to dig deeper. While I was gathering the bagger parts and pieces he noticed that I had a Yamaha ATV in my garage under some “stuff”. He asked me if I would be interested in selling the ATV. Shock and horror struck me! Why? Because I bought this machine new in 2004. I bought it for my then young sons and me to ride together as they grew up. In later years they would ride it every day weather allowed either together or one at a time. I can’t begin to remember all of the good times we had riding, laughing, crashing, and just father/sons conversations on this machine. Last year was the first year it had ever gone a summer without even being started. Both boys drive cars now but that’s not the reason they didn’t ride it last year. Oh no, they moved on to a much slower, more comfortable, and more user friendly vehicle. That being a used golf cart I bought two summers ago. Mostly I bought it for Shannon and I to drive around in the late evenings out here in Hillcrest and in Wimple Park.

Well as soon as the boys discovered how much fun it was to pile on a few friends and food, seldom do Shannon and I get to use it other than during daylight hours. When I first bought the golf cart both boys laughed at me. They accused me of being not only old but also slow! Now if I wait until 11:00 p.m. or later, Lukas will ride it around town in the summer months with me. We have a lot of fun, just the two of us. Many interesting conversations have taken place on these journeys. So what about the ATV? I had no intentions of selling the ATV mostly because of all the memories. I could get it running myself anytime I wanted but probably it would have set again this year without so much an engine rotation. It also takes up a lot of space in the garage sooooo… I asked the man to make me an offer. His offer was $200 higher than what I thought was fair. So when I countered with a price $100 lower than his offer, of course he couldn’t stick his hand out fast enough to close the deal. Yes we shook hands. No goofy elbow bumps or face masks this morning. So, Shannon and I moved a riding mower and an ATV out of the garage in less than 24 hours. Additional space was happening quickly.

Watching the ATV go was hard for me. Three years ago I sold a Honda 90cc youth motorcycle that I had bought for the boys to ride when they were younger and a few years before that I sold a go cart I brought back from the dead which they drove before the ATV. They graduated from the go cart to the ATV to the Honda motorcycle and finally to their cars. With the good Lord’s blessing, over the fourteen years of drives and rides, none of us were ever injured very badly as we cycled through the gas and oil combustion machines. Did I fail to mention the electric scooters and electric motorcycles we all also survived? Those units were thrown away when they failed to operate anymore. No sale.

The guy I sold the mower and ATV too is a small engine, lawn mower, chainsaw, and ATV mechanic. It was a perfect marriage that he was the one that ended up with my old stuff. The mower was in top condition but the ATV, not so much. He’s a young guy. His plan was to check over the mower real well and sell it to a customer that has been looking for just this particular size and style mower. The Yamaha Grizzly ATV he was keeping for himself. He was really excited to buy it and on Sunday, the next day, he sent me a video of the ATV purring like a kitten! It was running and operating great and he had already been outside riding it! And me, I was thrilled to see it running again and someone else enjoying it just as much as my family had for years.

With both of my boys moving on with their own lives in the directions they choose, it has become easier for me to part with some of their things. I figured out the hitch. I’ve never wanted to get rid of their old toys, and outdoor thrill rides because I have always thought to myself…what if, what if they want to get back on or get the little stuff back out. I’ve conceded and accepted the fact that; they won’t. They’re moving on and…this is a good thing. Something I just didn’t want to believe. What? Move on without me? How could they possibly have fun without me? Geez guys remember when we did this and later did that and next year would do these and more!?

Dads out there following me; no one told me this. Learn and pay attention earlier than I did. Accept that your kids are growing up. Watch them enjoying themselves, and yes sometimes without their dad. You see for too long I thought it was my responsibility to make sure they were always enjoying life. Therefore of course I thought all events would need to include me. Not true. I should have removed myself earlier than I did. Because I didn’t I wasn’t letting them grow up without me. I’ve been schooled these past couple of years. I’ve finally figured out that my boys can do both. They go about their own lives not only without me but also with me! Imagine that! And you know what, my stress level is going down and the responsibility I’ve felt for years is waning.

Back in the garage I’m looking at a self propelled, electric start, barely used, snow blower. Anyone interested? I’ll make you a heck of a deal! Really I will! I need to make more room!

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