Tribute to a Yard Guy

The man killed in the Canyon fire a week ago was not only a friend. Bart Thetford was my yard guy.

Which is why I haven’t mowed in a week. Don’t want anyone but Bart to touch it.

You see, yard guys are to men what hair dressers are to women. Good ones are hard to find.

In the 15 years since I stopped cutting my own grass—not counting the dozen or so in-betweens who didn’t know the difference between bermuda and fescue—I’ve had only three yard guys.

So I was in major depression last fall when John left to pastor a church in North Carolina. “You sure God is calling you? Couldn’t wait til your kids graduate from Canyon; could you”?

Then this spring I thought of Bart. He did our church’s lawn, and we knew his wife and—well, ask his friends; Bart had a smile that said “try me; you’ll like me.”

From the moment he first cranked up his mower, I knew Bart was the one. Good yard guys do exactly what they’re asked. Great ones do it before you ask.

Found out at the funeral that Bart had a degree in plant and soil science (a four year university degree). He never told me that; he wouldn’t.

No wonder he knew the ground temperatures weren’t high enough in May to make my turf thrive. No wonder he knew what minerals to add to make my clay soil hold water.

Most of my lawn guys have been quiet types. Not Bart. He loved to talk, and his friends loved to listen—not just about lawn stuff, but sports, his family (he could go on forever about one child), life in general.

I’ll miss hearing him.

“And if someone does have to replace Bart,” I told his wife, Karla, “I have only one person in mind.” Bart’s son Brady will start next week.

3 thoughts on “Tribute to a Yard Guy

  1. Nice, personal tribute, Mike. I heard from a friend about Bart. Formiddable circumstance and terrible tragedy. I remember his smile too. And his humor, precision-laced with humility. Blessings to you all!

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