Yesterday I caught up with yard work. We bought a John Deere Zero Turn mower last spring. I had run the numbers and it would save us money to buy the mower on monthly payments compared to paying the crew to mow our yard. I have always loved doing yard work but after my cancer journey, I had to give it up and pay a crew. I love driving that machine over the grass and seeing the level golf green like surface behind me.

A neighbor across the street has a John Deere yard tractor and he mows several times a week. I think it is more of an alone therapy time for him. He is an aircraft mechanic at IAH where he spends long days working in hangars. He is about ten years younger than I am. The other day I saw him out on his lawn tractor going slowly over his lawn, I noticed he had ear buds on. I guess he was listening to his favorite tunes or maybe a podcast. Yesterday when I was mowing, I thought maybe I should put on my earbuds and listen to something. Of course, I thought of that after I started mowing so I did not stop to go get them.

As I mowed, I noticed that I thought a lot about many different things. One thing I thought about was the meals we attended at Swiss L'Abri which seems like a lifetime ago. I was a student at Swiss L'Abri in the spring of 1979 for three months. Meals at L'Abri were much more than satisfying your hunger for food, they were more about satisfying your thirst for knowledge. More specifically your spiritual knowledge. I recall most meals lasted for hours, sometimes late into the night. There were always candles in the middle of the tables and when the wick would reach the candle stick and wax was dripping on the table is when we knew we needed to wrap up our discussions and clean up. No one left until all the dishes were cleaned and back in the cabinets and the dining room was pristine and ready for the next meal.

Each morning there was a list posted at Chalet Maleze next to the mailboxes where we would stop each day to see if we received any letters from home. Every chalet hosted evening meal unless it was that ‘family’s day off’. Each chalet had a host family that oversaw the chalet and was responsible for the students that lived there. If I recall correctly, there were twelve chalets at Swiss L’Abri at that time. On that list was where we would be assigned for that day’s work and evening meals. Dr. Francis Schaeffer and his wife Edith would host the meal from the different chalets. When we saw our name on the list with Dr. Schaeffer’s or Edith’s name at a chalet, we knew this would be a fabulous meal with valuable Christian teaching. Most times the Shaeffers would be at different chalets but there were times when they would be there together. Dr. Schaeffer had recently returned from the states where they had the first treatments for cancer, they found a few months before. He was in remission at the time he was at L’Abri when I attended. There were a lot of meals he did not attend because he was so tired and was unable to go to the meals with the students but stayed home at his chalet. Edith would attend most of the time but there were times when her name would be on the list, but she was unable to be there.

One of the most memorable meals for me was at John Sandri and family's chalet called TZI-NO. John is Dr. and Mrs Shaeffer’s son in law. Dr. Shaeffer, Edith, John Sandri and his family along with some students were there. As usual, there were candles on the table the lights were low. Dr. Schaeffer told us he was starting work on writing the Christian Manifesto. I sat next to Giandy Sandri who is the Schaeffer’s grandson and was about 10 years old. Giandy was hilarious to be around. One time during the meal when the discussion was getting serious, Giandy asked me to pass him the butter, but he said it in French. I understood him but did not hear the word beurre, which is butter. As quietly as I could I asked him what it was he wanted. He said BEURRE using the back of his throat to emphasize the word loud enough for everyone to hear. That caused the conversation Dr. Shaeffer was talking to stop and everyone looked at Giandy and since I was next to him, I was part of the gaze. Edith who was across the table politely said, he wants the butter as she handed me the dish of butter to pass on to Giandy. Everyone at the table broke out in laughter as I handed Giandy the butter. At the time that was sort of an embarrassing moment but as I think back, that was a moment I recall with much fondness.

Funny what you think about while mowing the yard. I am thankful I did not stop to get the earbuds so I would not have to think. Later I sat down in the garage to wind down and enjoy the moment. The sound system was playing a favorite song from my youth, but I turned the system off to enjoy more of thoughts from the time I spent at the small village in Switzerland named Huemoz at a small community called L’Abri.