The grass really is greener on the other side

By: Matt Foss on May 17th, 2023

In my experience, there’s nobody who takes better care of a lawn than a retired educator / sports coach.

At the Woodson Art Museum, we are blessed to have the work of our neighbor, Don Bradford, a retired educator and hockey coach, who keeps the Museum’s grounds looking pristine during the warmer months. With a smile, and accompanied by his trusty dog Pepper, Don and his talents are a gift to the Museum and all who visit. While the Museum’s facilities staff and volunteers – including North Central Wisconsin Master Gardeners – also keep the grounds looking beautiful, the lion’s share is Don’s handiwork.

This photo shows Don Bradford, taking care of the Museum's lawn

The man, the myth, the legend

This photo shows the Museum's beautiful Margaret Woodson Fisher Sculpture Garden

This photo shows beautiful grass in front of the blossoming crab apple trees on the Museum's campus

At home, I’m not so lucky. My neighbor, Jim Gilmore, a retired educator and basketball coach, also is meticulous in his yardwork. Unfortunately, with numerous shade-producing trees, a busy work schedule, and ferrying young kids from function to function, “meticulous” is not the word I would use to describe my own lawn.

When I get home each day, and look across the cul-de-sac, Jim’s yard looks like hole #13 at Augusta National. There are groups doing yoga, college students laying on blankets studying, and people in hammocks sipping Mai Tai’s. On my side, it’s like the “Valley of the Ashes” from The Great Gatsby. There are turkey vultures scavenging, Fred Sanford is sitting in a rocking chair, and tumbleweeds blowing across the bare patches.

This photo shows a well-manicured lawn

My neighbor’s lawn…

This photo shows the Valley of the Ashes from The Great Gatsby

My lawn

Regardless of my failures as a gardener and landscaper, my wife and I remark how nice it is to look through our windows and see the Gilmore’s picturesque yard when we enjoy our morning coffee. We are fortunate to live in a nice neighborhood with people who put time and effort into their property. On the other side of the coin, Jim probably loathes the sight through his windows, praying that I hire a professional lawn care service or at the very least, up my weed and feed game.

Hey, if he doesn’t like what he sees, he can always move. Preferably along North 12th Street in Wausau . . .

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