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Erma Bombeck

The Green, Green Grass of Home
by Erma Bombeck, written November 1971

When Mike was 2, he wanted a sandbox, and his father said:
"There goes the yard We'll have kids over here day and
night, and they'll throw sand into the flower beds, and cats
will make a mess in it, and it'll kill the grass for sure."

And Mike's mother said, "It'll come back."

When Mike was 5, he wanted a jungle gym set with swings that
would take his breath away and bars to take him to the summit,
and his father said: "Good grief, I've seen those things in
back yards, and do you know what they look like? Mud holes in
a pasture. Kids digging their gym shoes in the ground. It'll kill the
grass."

And Mike's mother said, "It'll come back."

Between breaths, when Daddy was blowing up the plastic swimming
pool, he warned: "You know what they're going to do to this
place? They're going to condemn it and use it for a missile site.
I hope you know what you're doing. They'll track water everywhere
and have a million water fights, and you won't be able to take
out the garbage without stepping in mud up to your neck. When we
take this down, we'll have the only brown lawn on the block."

"It'll come back," Mike's mother said.

When Mike was 12, he volunteered his yard for a campout. As they
hoisted the tents and drove in the spikes, his father stood at the
window and observed, "Why don't I just put the grass seed out in
cereal bowls for the birds and save myself the trouble of spreading
it around? You know for a fact that those tents and all those big
feet are going to trample down every single blade of grass, don't
you. Don't bother to answer. I know what you're going to say.
'It'll come back.'"

The basketball hoop on the side of the garage attracted more crowds
than the Olympics. And a small patch of lawn that started out with
a barren spot the size of a garbage can lid soon drew to encompass
the entire side yard.

Just when it looked as if the new seed might take root, the winter
came and the sled runners beat it into ridges. Mike's father shook
his head and said, "I never asked for much in this life - only a
patch of grass."

And his wife smiled and said, "It'll come back."

The lawn this fall was beautiful. It was green and alive and
rolled out like a sponge carpet along the drive where gym shoes had
trod ... along the garage where bicycles used to fall ... and
around the flower beds where little boys used to dig with
iced-tea spoons.

But Mike's father never saw it. He anxiously looked beyond the yard
and asked with a catch in his voice, "he will come back, won't he?"