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Another Day in the Country

Entertaining strangers

© Another Day in the Country

Being raised in a Christian community of believers, I often heard stories from scripture that talked about “entertaining angels unawares.”

The story of Abraham, for instance, inviting a couple of weary travelers for supper comes to mind.

Upon bringing them home, unusual things were talked about over the evening meal. Sarah was told she was going to have a child, as I recall the story, and she was my age. For a childless couple, this was amazing news.

Because of my upbringing, and also the quiet days in a very small town, someone stopping by or a stranger in need of directions or a drink of water becomes an interesting encounter.

Last week, I was watering, yet again, and I saw my sister walking with a young man across the expanse between my house and hers.

Oh, one of the cousin’s kids from Wichita must be in the area and stopped to say hello, I thought as I watched them approaching.

“Pat!” Jess called out as they came closer. “This is Colton and he’s walking the trail across the United States. He started in Delaware last year.”

How fascinating! And here he was in Ramona.

“He stopped and asked if he could fill his water containers,” she explained, “and we got to talking.”

What a good talk they must have had because she went on, “I just told him he could sleep at the Ramona House instead of camping out tonight. He was going to go pitch his tent at the graveyard.”

Evidently cemeteries are quiet sleeping spots — no one’s and everyone’s property — a safer place to lay out a sleeping bag and spend the night undisturbed than in someone’s pasture, where unexpected livestock might appear.

“We’re about to have supper,” I said to the hiker, whom I’d already decided in our brief conversation was one of the good guys. “Join us.”

He said he’d be glad to and left us to go settle into the house next door.

Jess turned on the water heater so that he could have a warm shower — although, with this weather, I’m surprised the water even needed to be heated.

“Staying at the Ramona House is definitely a step up,” he said.

“Do you do this often?” my grandson asked when I came back inside.

He’d been listening to the conversation from inside the house.

“Just invite any stranger for supper?”

He was alarmed.

“Every once in a while,” I said. “We’ve had hikers coming through before — evidently, there’s a well-known trail coming by Ramona.”

Quite a discussion followed with Dagfinnr seriously questioning why we’d just open our doors to any old stranger who could be a serial killer, on the run from the law, etc.

We already were sitting at the table when our guest arrived to join us for supper. He had just got out of the shower, and his long, curly, brown hair lay damp on his shoulders.

I couldn’t stop staring. I wanted to reach for my camera to document the occasion. This young man looked like a composite of all the paintings I’d ever seen of Jesus.

So we broke bread together, this soft-spoken young man with his gentile mannerisms and his traveling stories.

He’d begun this journey in June of 2022. Teaching was his profession before he started on his trek, and he’d decided to stay through several cold months with an Amish family he’d met along the way and home-schooled their children.

Someone had told him cautionary tales about Ramona, so he carefully chose the house where he planned to ask for water. It was the one with all the flowers in the front yard. And there he met my guardian-angel sister.

Later, when everyone had gone to their houses to sleep, my grandson came into my bedroom and said, “I want you to know, Baba, that was fun tonight. He has such a disarming personality and was so nice to be around. I’m not worried anymore.”

The next day, we went to the airport to pick up my daughter, who was flying in from California. On the drive home, we gave her the news from Ramona.

First to report, Dagfinnr grinned and said, “Well, Baba has a hobo staying at the Ramona House. That’s notable.”

“Hobo?” I said. “Google that to make sure it’s positive.”

We discovered that a hobo was someone who traveled around and was willing to work.

It was just another day in the country when we waved our friend, the walker, off to continue his journey toward Durham, on to McPherson and points southwest. Our encounter with a stranger had warmed our hearts, and given us new courage about humanity. We’ve been blessed.

Last modified Aug. 3, 2023

 

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