Community Columns

Ward Cleaver never had to deal with Modesto's regulations

I'd like to dedicate this column to all of you out there who try to maintain your yards in the same fashion as the lovely home on "Leave It to Beaver."

I, too, am a homeowner who likes the thought of keeping up with the Cleavers. However, the tasks have become increasingly difficult. I sat back and pondered, "Just how did ol' Ward Cleaver keep up with all of it?" Then it hit me. Ward had advantages that we in Modesto do not.

Ward was allowed to water any day or any night he saw fit. If a brown spot began to spread through his lawn, he didn't check his watch or his calendar to verify whether or not he could water it. I am sure he never considered the possibility of being limited on his water use when his luscious green lawn required an extra drink or two. That goes for his shrubs and flowers, as well.

Unlike we Modestans who can't water at all on Mondays, must determine whether we are on odd or even watering days, and must give up the notion of watering anytime between noon and 7 p.m. any day. For the less fortunate who don't have automatic sprinkler systems and may work during the allowed hours of watering, you have my condolences. Yes, ol' Ward had it made.

He also didn't have to schedule the larger trimmings to the last week of the month, as the green waste in the street was a common sight and neighbors understood that folks did this on a time schedule that fit their needs, not that of the city. He was, after all, adding to the beautification of his yard.

Ward had flexibility, unlike us Modestans who have work, health or family issues that don't always give us the luxury of setting aside a specific week for major yard work. Additionally, not every paid gardener can get to every yard only on the last week of the month; it's simply impossible.

And a word to the wise: Should you place your prunings on the street or in the alley any time other than your designated week, you may receive not one, but two copies (in separate mailings, arriving on the same day) of an official city letter advising you to remove the waste from the street or suffer a $100 fine.

Yes, ol' Ward had it made.

In the years to come, I wouldn't be surprised if we're told there's a time restriction on when we can run our mowers because of air quality and noise issues.

Gee, I wonder if Ward ever considered trading his well-groomed yard for a rock garden. I know I am.

Vidauri is a Modesto resident. Contact her at