Friday, March 28, 2008

The Kindness of Strangers

Yesterday I opened a box which had been waiting for me since returning from New Hampshire. I hadn't seen it in the reshuffling that occurs with the assimilation of a full car load of stuff. It was apple butter from a blog reader, Debi, who was in touch with me several weeks ago about White Lily flour after she posted on the Bountiful Biscuits entry in late January.

As we're both from New Hampshire, I offered to bring up some flour for her but it didn't work out. However, we got to talking about apple butter and Gould Hill Orchards in Contoocook and how they have our favorite, hard to find heirloom varieties. So I was delighted to receive a jar of homemade apple butter, something I learned to like as a small girl when my father enjoyed it on cottage cheese. I learned to make it just to send some his way each year. [Winesap apples, pictured above, are included in Debi's apple butter, and are one of few apple varieties that they sell at Nolt's Bulk Foods in Liberty. Truly a culinary "sign" that we were meant to move here as they are my favorites.]

Yesterday we were also blessed by strangers. On the way to town to do some errands and try out a new café, a man in a truck motioned to us to pull over. Initially we thought he was trying to pass and then didn't and figured him to be a lane hog. When we finally pulled over after his gesturing he wanted to tell us that our back rear tire was low and likely ready to blow out. We had been going 70 miles an hour on the parkway. Not only did he take the time to let us know, he stayed to change the tire with us and then another person stopped to make sure everyone was alright.

After changing the tire and heading on our way we got to the café and it was packed, being as it was the first week of opening (and the only non-fast food place to eat in downtown Somerset). A man by himself at a table for four motioned for us to come over. He offered us some seats at his table. What was initially kind, but awkward, became a great conversation over lunch. When my husband was waiting in a long line after lunch to pay our bill, a Baptist minister, with whom he had struck up a conversation, even offered to pick up our check! [But we didn't take him up on that.]

By the way, the name of the café? Life is Sweet Bakery & Café. It certainly can be. Across from the café on Somerset's town square is the new location of God's Food Pantry which helps feed over 500 families a month in Pulaski County. In one week, the café, food pantry, and new and beautiful main branch of the Pulaski County Library all opened within a short walk of each other. Each is an enterprise I will regularly support or be involved with in some way.

There is a Bible verse [Hebrews 13:1-2] that I often think upon, especially in a world where we need to be cautious of strangers, but where we always need to be open to possibility and hope:

"Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

We have so often found this to be true in our lives. Since moving here we have found most people to be honest and sincere and kind. One woman, another blog reader (and longtime blogger herself) and now a friend (hi Cat!), has been an angel in her welcome, and gifts, and bits of knowledge and complete embracing of our family. After only meeting me once at the Kentucky Book Fair last November, she invited me to join a Bunco group that she was forming. We live 45 minutes away from each other but she has become a neighbor in the truest sense.

Yesterday gave us pause to remember these kinds of blessings and how we should always keep watch for angels unawares. I am learning, also, how the blog community is full of angels and friends both new, and old. Thank you all.


Anonymous said...

Blessings to you, Catherine. I blush to see that apple butter picture and my own handwriting : ) Glad it traveled well. This was a lovely post.

warmly, deb meyers

Anonymous said...

Catherine, this is a wonderful website and its great that you're sharing your love of good food with the world. You should visit www.Resort2Kindness and log this kindness that you're participating in. For each kindness logged at Resort2kindness, sponsors pay $$ to charities. Check it out.