The Obituary of Leaf Rake
By John R. Greenwood
October 25,1100 B.C. — November 19, 2020
Saratoga Springs, NY
Leaf Rake, age 3120, passed away this morning on West Ave., Saratoga Springs. Mr. Rake was born in China in 1100 B.C. His first years were spent clearing fields of leaves and plant refuse. His childhood friends described him as being made entirely of wood—wooden tines attached to a wooden head. His facial features remained wrinkle-free and relatively unchanged for his entire 3120 year existence.
Leaf Rake graduated with honors from Garden State College at the age of 5. His hard work and long hours made him outstanding in his field. He never asked anything of his handler that he wasn’t willing to do himself. After college he spent centuries on farms all over the world. In the 20th century he committed his remaining years to suburban yards across the globe. He was never boisterous or condescending and was always willing to work in the front, side, or backyard at a moments notice.
At the time of his death Leaf Rake lived in the dark recesses of sheds and garages. During his last days he might be found leaning against the back of the house, rusty and neglected. Leaf met his demise today at the hands of the “Blower Boys.” A posse of masked marauders in hoodies, brandishing gas-fueled death-wands of hurricane force winds. Leaf Rake was doomed. His manually operated handle and tines had zero chance of survival based on the shear numbers of his staggering opposition.
I witnessed the murderous act in real time. It brought personal sadness and despair. Leaf Rake and I spent most of our lives together. When we were kids we made soda and candy money together. We bonded instantly. We went from elementary school through high school together. When I needed money for the movies or a new bike tire, Leaf was there. He never let me down. When we got older and started families of our own, Leaf and his cousin Garden would show up at my house to help seed the new lawn or fill in the low spots over the septic tank. He let my rambunctious sons play pretend landscaper minutes after they’d used him as a makeshift axe on the old maple out front. He and his cousin were tough cookies right to the end.
As the scene above unfolded I pulled over to the side of the road. I yelled out in anger but my voice was smothered by the roar of two-stroke horsepower. My efforts were nullified by progress and the unstoppable future. A tear rolled down my cheek, and as it did an oak leaf floated in my truck window as if to say, “Don't worry, Leaf's okay and you will be too. You two had a good run together. You made memories and money. You bent his back, he gave you blisters, but you remained friends until the end. You both paid your dues, let the Blower Boys have their fun. Things always come full circle. Someday you’ll both be remembered fondly for your hard work and low maintenance."
"Most of all be proud of all those mountainous leaf piles of autumn you two made."
"The Blower Boys can’t do that now, can they?"
RIP Leaf Rake