Fresh farm eggs, a hand-made wooden stool, an apple pie still hot from the oven, a basket of organic vegetables just pulled from the ground, and a jar of local honey.
These are just a few examples of the welcome gifts presented to my family by neighbours when we moved here. In the early frenzied days of unpacking and settling in, there would be a knock on the door and a neighbour would be standing there, with a beautiful, welcoming gift in hand. So quintessentially country! Again and again, we were struck by their kindness.
There is often little to no warning when suddenly there is someone standing at the door. It’s a bit unnerving, actually; when you think you’re alone and then suddenly, you’re not. But these country drop-ins have become a regular part of my new life in the country.
In the city, visits were always orchestrated and well planned. People don’t drop-in. The closest I ever came to a drop-in there was a last minute phone call to get together. I’m not sure why that is. But in the country, drop-ins are prevalent. My city friends will often ask me things like “what do you do up there?” and “aren’t you bored?” “I’m not sure,” I’ll reply.
The truth is, I’ve never been busier, or more social. In fact, country living is exhausting! A friend of mine on Facebook once joked that he had to return to the city to relax. Now I know what he means. Considering I live in the middle of nowhere it may seem surprising, but I have people around me all of the time!
We learned very quickly (and the hard way) that you must always be prepared for unexpected visitors in the country. I have eluded in previous blog posts of our nudist approach to this place when we first bought the property. We believed that there was safety in our seclusion here and would often shed it all, just because we could. One particularly hot day, Rob was buck naked attending to some repairs outside the barn while I held the ladder (yes, I know…) when Great Grandma decided to “drop-in.”
Fortunately he was able to don his clothing again before Grandma noticed him and had a heart attack! Another time, my sister and I were sunbathing in all our topless beauty when my roofer decided to “drop-in” for some details. We scrambled for our clothes but not before he and his wife got a good look. She refused to get out of the truck. Oh well.
I can only hope that in some way, she will be forever altered by what she witnessed that day.
Now, though, things are different. Now that we appreciate how suddenly and unexpectedly the drop-in can occur. I am rarely in a state of undress here, just in case. And there is a part of me that is at the ready for the infamous drop-in at all times. And the truth is I love it!
These little impromptu visits are gems in my day. Just yesterday a huge red pickup truck pulled in my lane and an equally huge man and his wife jumped out to introduce themselves. Turns out they had been previous owners of the property and had some gifts for us. They had found hand written and signed tax receipts from the original owners (the Mulvihills-read about their story of survival and loss in the ‘about’ section on my homepage) dating back to 1874 stuffed into the original chinking of our home. They had them framed and wanted to pass them on to us.
I invited them in and, when my neighbours on the twelfth also dropped by, it was a party in the making! Our harvest table is often surrounded by visitors; young and old, family and friends old and new. It has served as a platform for laughter and tears, dreams and the occasional meltdown. And more often than not, it has been brought to life in the spirit of the country drop-in.