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The Helena Arkansas Daily World - Helena, AR
  • Gary Brown: Spring is the time for 'to do' lists

  • Spring is a prime list-making time of the year. We can’t list “till garden” or “fertilize lawn” or even “wash windows” in the dead of winter, when a foot of snow is on the frozen ground and frigid temperatures are causing frost to cover up any dirt on the window panes.

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  • This seems like a very productive time of year because we have a lot of things we can scribble down on our “to do” lists:
    Pick up twigs in yard.
    See if lawn mower will start.
    If it does, mow grass.
    Stop and watch neighbor mow his grass.
    Empty grass-catcher bag.
    Put lawn mower away.
    Wave at neighbor.
    That’s seven things accomplished. Now we can all go watch golf on TV. Invite the neighbor.
    I fully understand that this is really just one chore — two, if we count the twig collection as a whole different job, separated from cutting the grass by three cookies and half a can of Mountain Dew. But, it pleases me at the end of the day to have a long chores list and a lot of lines crossing things out.
    Scoff if you like — and I don’t want to sound rude — but it’s my list, and I’ll line them up like I want to.
    LISTS ARE LENGTHY
    Spring is a prime list-making time of the year. We can’t list “till garden” or “fertilize lawn” or even “wash windows” in the dead of winter, when a foot of snow is on the frozen ground and frigid temperatures are causing frost to cover up any dirt on the window panes. We won’t get away with it. Some self-appointed trooper on the list police is going to call us on it.
    “Is this your ‘when I retire and move to Florida’ list?”
    Spring “to do” lists, on the other hand, can be filled with jobs that we may never get done, but at least the weather is right for them.
    We may not want to get a lot of these jobs done. If we complete the tasks we’ll have to take them off the next list, and the value of some chores, if the truth be known, is in their ability to hold down prime spots on over-ambitious but impressive-looking lists.
    “Technically, No. 23, ‘Re-landscape the lawn with a stream flowing through rocks over a waterfall into a lighted pond with fish in it and maybe some soothing music playing,’ I saw done on a cable television home and garden program late in the 1990s and I’ve just been sort of carrying it over from one year’s list to the next, but I figure sooner or later ...”  
    Maybe, it could happen, if I get enough other things on my list done. It did take them about eight episodes to get the pond thing done on the program, but hope springs eternal in, appropriately, the spring.
    HIGH EXPECTATIONS
    Page 2 of 2 - Just as each year during spring training, when every single team in the Major Leagues is going to win the World Series — the one we think about early in April — every homeowner who ever has made a spring “To Do” list is going to hit the top chores running and not stop until he’s worked his way to the bottom of the piece of paper.  
    I make my list out on the pages of a little spiral notebook, the kind with a hole in the top so I can hang it with a pencil in the garage. I just keep listing things and turning pages and each year the collection of completed chores dangles there looking like my entry in the “Who’s Who of Homeowners.”
    I keep it in a corner of the garage, hanging from a storage rack, pretty far away from the golf organizer where I keep my clubs and shoes. I make out the list, so I know I’m not going to find “head to the driving range” written down after “sweep patio” and before “trim shrubs.” No sense spoiling my feelings of accomplishment.

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