On his way past the Abundance office, Lyle said he was looking for Bob. “I need to talk to the knower of all things.” For an instant I thought he’d said the mower of all things, which made sense to me because Bob mows like no one else I know.
Bob mows at work and at home and sometimes he mows on down the road. By the same token, he also knows an awful lot. “Not always right, but never in doubt” is what Bob jokingly says about himself.
If something is going to happen, Bob generally knows about it before the rest of us. He was so good at forecasting sales trends in a company we worked at, that I gave him a crystal ball that Christmas.
Bob knows when to leave and he knows when to stay. He called our departure date from Texas so close that it was less than a week after we pulled out of town that his employer missed making payroll.
But back to the mowing. When we lived in Virginia, one of the first things Bob bought was a John Deere riding mower which he used to mow the horse pastures on our seven acre mini-farm. A year later, what had started out as chest high grass gone to seed was looking like a golf course.
He knew when to leave that place, too. We sold our little horse farm and left the country to manage a one hundred and fifty acre jungle resort with twenty horses. We traded five horses on seven acres for twenty on one hundred and fifty without the necktie and mortgage payment.
I believe all those hours spent mowing those pastures gave him time, space and solitude to really weigh the reasons to stay against the reasons to leave. He eventually came to the conclusion that stewardship could be every bit as rewarding as ownership but without the risk.
I’m not the first person close to Bob who noticed that he likes to mow. His daughters knew this before I found it out. The year we got together, I thought I’d get young Emily and Amy involved in celebrating his birthday.
“Okay,” I said, “Your Dad’s birthday is coming up – what should we get him for a birthday present?” It grew quiet as they gave the matter some thought. And then five-year-old Emily broke the silence with, “A lawn mower?”