Saturday, August 22, 2009

Friends and Strangers

There are no such things as strangers,
only friends we haven't met yet.

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.

Lacy Lou

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 have a wonderful family. Thank you for your kindness and friendship to strangers.


  1. What a great place. And now many new friends. Love the pig.

  2. All those critters! It sounds like a very loving place.

  3. What a wonderful, welcoming family you have met! Most farm families I have met seem to be like that in hospitality to others.

  4. Ruth,

    What a wonderful tradition. Our family used to do this when I was a child, but everyone is far too busy now. It's kind of sad in a way. We see each other about four times a year...on holidays when Mom puts on a big dinner.

    I'm sure you and the Becka had a wonderful time. I would love to meet all the people and all the animals.


  5. A lovely post....and a wonderful welcome from strangers. I love the mini farm, it all looks so homely.
    It is good to eat with family and friends....I did just that yesterday and had a great time.....

  6. Sounds like a great visit to a unique place with welcoming friends.
    It's so nice to find a family that accepts and protects every kind of animal and person. If only the entire world was that way.

  7. Thanks for sharing this delighful visit with us.Sounds like this family has a good thing going.

  8. I like the quote about there being no strangers, only people we haven't met yet. This family sounds warm and inviting. Nice that you were able to enjoy their hospitality.
    Nice pics too - I like the water lilies.

  9. Always fun to gather family and friends ... and just "let it happen."

  10. I cannot write without boosting. I do have a wonderful family. Sunday soup has been a tradition for over 20 years and I hope it goes for another 20+. It is my favorite day of the week. The quote, "there are no strangers, just friends we have not meet yet" is so true. are all invited to come out for a bowl of soup and a visit. You may come as a stranger, but you will leave as a friend.

    Thanks Ruth for this beautiful post on my family. As my Dad would say...the door is always come on in!

  11. How fun that looked! Glad you all got to go and be a part of the table. So many great animals too!

  12. Harriet N9:56 am GMT-4

    Ruth..thanks for all the lovely words about my family and our farm. Sometimes you work away at your place and don't always take time to see the beauty and appreciate all that you have. Hearing it from someone else makes you stop and look around and say, Yes this is a beautiful spot and a great family. I am lucky.
    You and your family are always welcome(and you can bring friends too).You are no longer a stranger but a friend.

  13. What a lovely story, Ruth. It will keep me smiling the rest of the week.

  14. What a wonderful blog! Time alone will show how hard it was to leave the family in 1976. We are blessed to see all that has happened here in Mexico with our 2 sons, 7 grandchildren and 1 great granddaughter. The chain of Mexicans that are living lives that are incredible after the encouragement they have received and their participation with others in thet things of God are innumerable. ---however after so many years we often long to be all together again as we were celebrating our 50th in Canada. All but our special oldest sun in the Middle East. Someday we shall be all reunited again.

  15. What a place! Just what I dreamed of when I was a child!

  16. I think I went there on a garden tour a couple of summers ago. I'm curious to confirm this....


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