Mowing a Lawn
by Barbara Bridgewater
Several years ago, several of my church family decided to invest in some property in the Sanger Heights neighborhood where we live in order to provide inexpensive housing to our other church family members who wanted to live in the neighborhood and to other families who wanted to live here, too. We call ourselves Casa Azul, reflecting the Spanish speaking influence of our church. We bought two pieces of property that we rent to different families and it takes all seven of us to keep up the business of being good landlords. Many of our discussions over the years have been as to whether or not to hire someone to do what’s needed or to do it ourselves. With each of us maintaining other jobs and families, we often choose to hire out the maintenance or other work.
But not always. Sometimes, despite our other schedules, we take time to go visit our renters, try to fix what’s needed or mow the lawn ourselves. At times, this feels a little inefficient, especially when it comes to mowing the lawns, which I’ve taken upon myself to do.
I could, instead, easily work another two hours and earn the money to pay someone the time it takes for me to get the mower, get to the property, get hot and sweaty as I repeat monotonous patterns and then shower off the results! And sometimes, we do just that: hire someone else who already has a business mowing lawns to do ours as well. But not usually. Usually, I choose to walk to get the mower, then walk to the properties to mow them. Usually I choose to do it because something magical happens that I hadn’t planned on in my busy life.
Usually I meet a neighbor along my walk I hadn’t met before or one I hadn’t seen in a while. One time, an elderly neighbor really needed his front lawn mowed but had no money until the following week, so I mowed it for him. Another time, a stranger asked if he could mow the lawn for some extra money, and we ended up in a long conversation about other benefits around the city that he could use in his time of need. Most of the time, I converse with one of the renters, and usually she offers me something to drink and we sit pause for a bit and talk. Always, I am able to greet at least a half dozen people in my neighborhood whom otherwise I wouldn’t see that day. Always, I marvel at my diverse neighborhood and smile at the new improvements, the ways in which we are growing this neighborhood together, the pothole that I need to report to the city, the child that is growing up, and the new flowers someone has lovingly planted.
Barbara Bridgewater has lived with her husband, Phillip, and 2 daughters in the diverse north Waco neighborhood of Sanger Heights for 17 years. She teaches English to adults through MCC and works with homeless families at Compassion Ministries (while Phillip works with Habitat for Humanity International). Barbara attends a church in that neighborhood called Hope Fellowship, where Casa Azul was born.
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