Observations and reflections from without and within
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Friends and Strangers
There are no such things as strangers, only friends we haven't met yet. Anon
In a world where people are often suspicious of strangers, it is worthwhile to know that many strangers are wonderful, welcoming people. I have spoken of Cheryl, a birder I met last year on a trail near the river. We have kept in touch and have met, intentionally and unintentionally several times. Cheryl comes from a large family with nine children and she was determined to get me up to visit them some weekend. Her father, who is now a widower with his own health issues, lives in a trailer on the property of one of his daughters and son-in-law.
Beautiful diverse gardens tended by Cheryl's dad and sister
Every weekend he makes a big pot of soup and "everyone" comes for Sunday lunch. The Becka and I drove up at the end of June to the farm which is about an hour away from our home. People were coming and going and the trailer was crowded with family and friends. A place was cleared at the table and we were made welcome among strangers and offered soup and bread. "Opa" was surrounded by his children, grandchildren and whoever else happened to drop in.
A few of the many animals and birds who live here
Cheryl's sister, Harriet, gave us a tour of the beautiful grounds and introduced us to all the pets. What a menagerie! From the llamas, Malcolm and Jacob, to the horses, dogs, peacocks and the pig, Lacy Lou, we met almost as many animals as people. The Becka, who had been a little shy about going in the first place remarked afterward how much she enjoyed the visit. She wished our extended family had a similar tradition of informal weekly gatherings where anyone was welcome.
Family members can be as diverse as the animals at Harriet and Vern's farm. Who is the peacock and who is the pig in our family? Yet all the animal here were loved for their unique qualities and had found a welcoming home together.
Cheryl, Harriet and Vern...you have a wonderful family. Thank you for your kindness and friendship to strangers.