Tuesday, September 1, 2009
New Friends (Schaghticoke, NY)
Schaghticoke, NY has a couple of distinctions beyond being one of the hardest town names to spell in the continental US. It is also a town where I happen to know no one. Not a single soul. So when I decided that S'coke (like the locals, I now feel like I've earned the right to abbreviate) was an ideal mid-point between Cambridge and Cohoes, the challenge was to find a family I could stay with.
Being that I was raised as one of those hell-raising Presbyterians (can you smell the sarcasm) just a stone's throw away, I thought the S'coke Presby Church might be a welcoming start for my search. As luck would have it, it was. Elizabeth Hale, who works there, wasn't able to find me a home among the Presbyterians (my guess is that too many might have been out speaking in tongues). But she didn't stop there. She went above and beyond the call of duty for someone I have never met and forwarded my email to the Catholic church, where it came to the attention of Ginger Will.
Last night I stayed with Ginger Will and her family. I had not met them or talked to them (other than on email) until the moment I sauntered up their driveway and ran into her husband Pete and son Parker coming home from golf. Yet as soon as we exchanged hellos, I was treated like family. To say that Ginger was helpful and accomodating might be the understatement of the year. She had two of her daughters and her oldest son visiting along with two grandchildren and yet didn't bat an eye in welcoming another person to the dinner table and into her home. Her daughter Kimmy even gave up the bed she had been sleeping on so that I wouldn't have to sleep on the couch.
To receive this sort of kindness from old friends might be expected. To receive it from such new friends was downright humbling. I took a long refreshing shower. I ate as much as I could eat. I drank as much as I could drink. I did my laundry. I iced my left shin (more on that another time) and for the space of four hours I was treated as though the license inside my wallet said Garth Will instead of Garth Poorman. All I could leave them with was my thanks. But it was a sincere, heartfelt, humbled thank you. To experience these sorts of interactions day in and day out is to constantly be reminded why we need each other and of how beautiful the human spirit is.
The picture above is of the whole crew, taken by timer. See, I melt right in, don't I?