Last weekend, I set off for a walk with no destination in mind. I prodded myself up a steep hill, then another, and then made a few turns—not my usual route. As I ambled along, a woman who lived at the top of yet another hill came to mind. She and I had belonged to a Moms-and-babies group many years ago and our grown sons are still good friends. We’ve spoken on the phone a few times but I rarely see her, partly because she’s battling a serious illness.

I enjoy walking through the neighborhoods admiring the cute houses.

I enjoy walking through neighborhoods admiring the cute houses.

Do you know how it feels when your children grow up and leave home, and you stop seeing their parents again? You might like to run into one at the grocery store or pass them on the street, but never do. I didn’t suffer from empty nest syndrome, but I miss those parents!

Maybe you’re younger and have recently spread your wings and moved far away. No longer do you see former friends or fellow classmates. Although Facebook and iPhones help, nothing beats speaking to a person face-to-face.

As I neared this woman’s house, fond memories filled my mind. I recalled the happy times her son spent with us at our beach place, and how much we’d appreciated him. Several years ago, when this young man was still living at home, my husband and I had been in a jam. We needed strong arms to help move an old TV set. Our son’s friend had dashed right over when we called. We offered him $20, but he refused the money.

Rounding the last corner, I was glad to see two cars parked out front. Someone was home, but my friend had been ill and might be taking a nap. My mind scrambled with possibilities and reasons to keep strolling by. I’d heard her husband had retired; he might not appreciate a drop-in uninvited guest.

I gathered up my courage and rang the front doorbell. A long pause ensued, but finally she came to the door with a surprised look on her face. “Have you come to see me?” she asked. “For five minutes?” I said, more a question. “Do you mind?”

I noticed my friend still decorates her home in blue and white after Christmas.

I noticed my friend still decorates her home with blue and white after Christmas.

She graciously invited me in and offered me soup she was preparing for lunch – butternut squash soup, which I adore. How’s that for perfect timing? We sat at her table, reminisced, and laughed over the good old days. And to think I almost kept going out of a misguided sense of decorum.

This glorious sky was my final reward after a pleasant day.

This glorious sky was my final reward after a pleasant day.

On my trek home, I asked myself how I’d feel if someone came to my door and saw my messy house, still in shambles after Christmas. Pride would make me blush, but would a true friend care? Unlikely. I recall my mother once said she always kept the living room straightened in case someone dropped by. But popping in without an invitation is an activity of the past.
When was the last time a neighbor or friend visited you on a whim? How would you feel? Do you welcome drop-ins as an interruption or an unexpected blessing?

Apron is Amish-made, from Lancaster County, PA.

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