We're about an hour and a half into our road-trip home, headed south on Route 22A in the gorgeous green hills of the Champlain Valley. We're just a few miles from where we disembarked the Fort Ticonderoga ferry two years ago, entering Vermont for the first time. It may as well have been yesterday—our memory of the peaceful contentment that washed over us when we arrived rings as clear as a bell.
We're nearing the town of Shoreham when Tyler pulls over and asks if we should drop in and see our friends, Sue and Mark (we met them on our first land-hunting trip). After a bit of searching, we manage to find their number, and Tyler gives them a call. Nobody answers, but he thinks we should stop by anyway. I'm feeling hesitant: I don't want to impose, and I'm a little afraid they won't even remember us, but Tyler is enthusiastic, so I agree to go.
Not five minutes down the road, we arrive to find Mark mowing the lawn. After he gets close enough to see who it is, he smiles and greets us with firm handshakes. Then, he takes us inside and bellows up to his wife, "Sue, we've got company!" As soon as she's down the stairs far enough to see who it is, she begins squealing, and when she reaches the bottom, she throws her arms around us both for a big group hug.
Of course they remember us!
We get caught up quickly, and soon we're drinking lime-plugged Coronas and munching on chips and dips on the back porch, laughing and chatting non-stop. Out of the blue, Mark asks if we'd like to join them for dinner at the Shoreham Inn. We agree wholeheartedly, enjoying how our surprise arrival has turned into a full-blown evening of fun.
A little later, we follow Sue and Mark over to the beautifully old, timber-framed restaurant. Together, we sit outside enjoying the evening. A sudden and brief deluge has taken the edge off the heat, and, thanks to the drops of water sliding off the wet umbrella overhead into our collars, we're very comfortable. Over roasted asparagus, vegetable flatbread, and their signature hamburgers, we chat and laugh and catch up some more.
A good five hours after our impromptu visit, it's time to call it a night and start heading in the direction of home. And so, we leave the Shoreham Inn, blessed once again by the hospitality of Sue and Mark. After thanking our friends for supper, we part ways with the promise that there will be more visits in the future. Once more, they assure us that their home is always open to us, and that if we ever need anything, they'll be there, day or night.
As we drive off into the darkness, our truck sighing heavily under the weight of the slate, I feel grateful, happy, and very loved. "I told you we should stop by!", Tyler says. He's right, of course, and I couldn't be happier to admit it. I'm reminded of the fact that when we open ourselves to serendipity, the experiences that result are always worth it. What a great day!
It was wonderful to see you again, Sue and Mark!