People Is People by David Ceaser
We've had a great string of good fortune recently. People have been extremely nice, friendly, and generous to us because of our plight. I guess it started in Winner, South Dakota when we were looking for a place to stay. Pete was telling us about his roommate Shawn and about his travels. When he was touring with his friends, they would always try and strike up a conversation outside of supermarkets, which would lead (ideally) to a place to stay for the night - either a yard to camp in or a house to sleep in.
Well, we were joking about this outside the supermarket in Winner when one of the employees asked us about our trip. We talked to him for a few minutes and then I asked him if he knew of any place in town to pitch a tent. He jokingly said, "Well, if no place else you could do it in my yard." I said, "Great." And we went to call his folks to see if it was all right. Well we went there and they let us shower and sleep in their screened patio because of all the bugs and to watch Monday Night Football. It was great!
Then, of course, it was Art and Arlene, just east of Ethan, SD, letting us sleep on their basketball court and play basketball. After that it was Vern and Emily Kruse of Sioux Falls taking us in (members of the Touring Cyclist Hospitality Directory) and Bagel Boy giving us free bagels and offering us other goodies.
Once we passed into Iowa, we spent the first night at a small county park. There we struck up a conversation with some folks who were cooking on a big kettle hanging over the fire. Almost immediately they invited us for dinner for turtle soup. We came and they gave us drinks, soup, bread, banana bread, cookies and apple butter. It was truly a feast!
It was wonderful to be with such giving and generous folks. For me it wasn't so amazing that these people did this for us. I know there are good people everywhere and I believe that everyone is good at heart. Matt, on the other hand, was amazed. He had never seen this kind of generosity, noting that people in the city are not as friendly or giving. I countered this argument with my own, noting that there are many wonderful people in the city and that there are just so many people there and so much happening it is much more difficult for one to notice an unusual person and take the time to help out a stranger. People in this part of the country are different, though. The slower pace of life makes them much more open to talking with and meeting strangers. It is a wonderful thing.
Our luck continued last night as we found an abandoned house in May City, Iowa to sleep in. They are remodeling the house so it was nice and clean and warm. It felt like it got really cold last night, so it was nice to be indoors. It could be a cold night tonight, as we will probably be outside.
"If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it." - Song of Solomon