Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

July 11, 2004


Yard Work is Good for the Body and the Soul


      I had it made for about eight months. While my knees were mending from replacement surgery, I was unable to do yard work. I sat in the shade drinking ice tea (I hate lemonade) while my sweet wife, the yard woman, tended the yard. I admired her good work, smiling all the while.

          My good friend Jim Whatley is a prophet as well as a fine orthopedic surgeon. While I cried and complained about the slowness of my knees to heal, he calmly predicted that soon I would be amazed at how well I could walk.

          He was right. A year after my surgery, I am walking well, and without pain for the first time in 10 years. My only regret is that I waited until I was 71 to have my knees replaced.

          People ask me if my knees hurt. The answer is no. I suppose that is because Titanium has no way to experience pain. Aside from a bit of numbness, I have no trouble at all with my new knees.

          This week I played 18 holes of golf with my son Matt and a couple of his friends. Did we walk? Are you kidding? Walking is for the pros. In this summer’s heat, common sense says ride in a golf cart. We did.

          It was the first time in five years I had played 18 holes of golf. I was not disappointed in my round. My philosophy saved me from frustration. I never expect to do well, and I am never disappointed. On a good day, I can shoot 95. The problem is that I never have a good day. I content myself with the thought that the exercise is good and the scenery is beautiful.

          Matt and his friends did fairly well on the first nine. However, the hotter it got, the weaker my partners seemed to be. We were all dragging by the 15th hole, and the 18th green never looked better. Each of us was barely able to say, “Good game, fellows.”

          I should never have played that round of golf. After I cooled off back home, my sweet wife said, “Honey, now that your legs are healed, come help me move the bricks in the backyard.” Only a sissy would have refused, and I am no sissy.

          Some people catch a “bug” and get sick. My wife caught some kind of patio bug and it has ruined her mind. While I was recuperating from surgery, she built one 10 by 10 patio all by herself. She liked it so much she now wants another, and another. Before long, our yard will be filled with patios. My grandson will have little grass to cut. Now we have two big brick patios, having used enough bricks to brick a small home. Where will it end?

          Some of our relatives are ruining my life. They keep giving my wife flowers to plant. Amy drives up with a truckload of day lilies. “I thought you would love these,” she says as Jake unloads the plants. Dean did like them. She liked them so much that she told Amy how proud she was of her new day lily garden. So sweet Amy brought her some more. Where will it end?

          My sister Margie heard about Amy’s gift and decided to give us some spider lilies. More yard work. Another load of soil is needed. More pine straw, please. More potting soil too. All these plants require water. “Will you please set the sprinkler up over here, darling, and then move it to the front yard; the new plants out there need water.” Our water bill was $69 dollars last month, and it rained every day!  Where will it end?

          Two men, who were formerly good friends, each gave us a plant recently. Andy White and John Nichols love to give plants away. I do not understand it. People look at me and think, “I need to give old Walter another flower for his yard.” Maybe they figure the extra work would help me lose weight.

          Our trees are not left alone either. My wife wants a circular bench around one in the front yard and one in the back yard. “You can fix some benches for me, can’t you darling?” Oh sure, I say as hope sinks beneath the western sky. She knows I cannot build a birdhouse that a decent bird would claim.

          “This bush is in the wrong place, sweetheart; could we move it to another location? It is right where I want you to build us an arbor,” my wife says. An arbor! Oh, where will it end?

          If I live long enough, our yard may become the showplace of Elmore County. All this work is taking a toll, of course, on my new knees. I reckon I had better call Jim and place an order for a new pair in a few years. Or, maybe with a little WD-40 I can make these last until the Lord calls me home. Meanwhile, I will try to convince myself that yard work is good for the body and the soul.

          Honestly, I had no idea I was getting new knees so I could do yard work. Surprise, surprise, old man. Oh, where will it end? + + + +