Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Edward Hays notes that when the French stormed the Bastille in Paris, there were only seven prisoners in it and a couple of them were "mad" and kept there for their own and society's safety.
It was on this day 27 years ago, that I was on an alp in the Graubuenden region of Switzerland with a church work camp. We, adults, slept on hay in a barn, while the youth slept in tents, the latrine was next to the pigsty!
The week-long project was to finish laying the water line from a glacier down the alp to a couple of old bath tubs which would serve as drinking troughs for the cows as they spent the summer on the alp. It was an hour's hike from our camp to the worksite!!! (and of course, an hour's hike back after a day of manual labor with every muscle aching!!)
As I recall, it got rather chilly at night and one lay person had a little flask of Kirsch, which each adult was able to have a sip to feel "wonderfully warmed" before slipping into the sleeping bag.
There was a man who stayed in alp hut all summer milking and making cheese. The son of the owner of the cows spent weeks up there as well, leading the cows to the free range pastures and herding back in the evening. He had a short wave radio so that he could radio down to the town where the family home was.
It was near the end of the week, on a lovely, beautiful morning when the pastor told me that there had been a call for me. The farmer's son had radioed down to home earlier that morning and had a message for me. It had come from my grandma in another canton in Switzerland who called the farmer. Grandma, likewise had received a long distance call from Chicago from her daughter (my Mom) with the news: I am the Aunt to a new born nephew!!!! I celebrated with an extra sip of kirsch after dinner and with bit in my evening coffee!!!
So the news originated in the hospital with a call to my parents, then travelled across the ocean to my Grandma in a little town who called the farmer in an even smaller, remote town in the eastern alps, who radioed the news via short wave radio up the alp. Such good news had a long way to travel and I was last in the family to hear about it, but hear about it I did. Happy Birthday C! The news of your birth travelled halfway around the world and up an alp!!!
And here you are, 27 years later, a professional, married and now a home owner. All growed up!!! And a fine man, to boot. Happy fly fishing and soon, snowboarding!!!
Love ya, so much! Your proud Aunt!

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