Earlier this year I traveled to Kansas to visit a small town and do some speaking at a few different venues. This town is one of my favorite stops on my fundraising tours. I won't mention the name for a reason which will become obvious later.
I had to fly into a city nearby on a teeny-tiny plane. I surprised myself by not freaking out and though I was extremely nervous--I could see the pilots and wondered why they kept referring to their manuals (Don't they have this down by now?!?)--I survived. Whew!
My sweet friend and her daughter picked me up from the itty-bitty airport and we drove to the next town. On the way she told me that the arrangements for my lodging had changed a bit as my hosts (wonderful farmers that had hosted me the previous year as well, and become friends) had to attend a sudden funeral and would therefore not be at home after the first night.
Hospitable people that they were, they offered their home up still. They said I was free to stay there for the three nights I'd be in town. Even their pickup truck was available should I need it. Like I said, wonderful people!
The surprise for me came when they showed me around and did not leave house keys for me. Apparently the doors remain unlocked all the time! Say what??
I'm all for small town innocence and love the idea that everyone is looking after one another, but after all these years in Africa where we have gates, and walls, and padlocks, it's a little daunting.
Since I was staying in the basement guestroom, I asked if it would be alright if I locked the doors at night. They chuckled, but said that was fine.
I loved the wide open spaces that evening as I rested in the living room with wrap around windows that showed off the Kansas sky at its finest.
However, when bedtime came, I walked around and locked each and every door.
The next morning I woke up so well-rested, it was a delightful feeling.
When I got upstairs I noticed that the driveway was empty. There had been a pickup parked there. Where had it gone?? My hosts had told me that they leave the keys in it cause, "if someone wants badly enough to steal it, at least they don't have to break in".
Now the truck was missing! My first day alone at their house and I'd allowed their truck to be stolen!
I did not look forward to explaining this to my friend who was coming over to collect me for that day's speaking engagements.
As I got things together for my breakfast I heard the garage door handle rattling. I hurried over to open it and found the farm hired hand looking at the door with a bewildered look on his face. "The door was locked", he muttered as he handed me that day's mail. I apologized for my silly insecurities. "Oh, by the way", he mentioned in passing, "it looked like a storm so we moved the truck". Oh thank heavens!! I didn't lose it!
I'm so glad that small towns like that still exist in the world. It's just a little too stressful for me.
Exactly One Year Ago: The Joys of Teaching & Knowledge