I have the best friends in the whole world. When you hear it said that someone would give you the shirt off their back, my friends would give me the actual shirts off their actual backs. It isn’t as easy to make good friends as you age. The history is just not there so the real surprise to me is that a lot of these friends are realtively new, mostly folks I have met through our sustainability group. Our connection is not history but future. We are all concerned with living in our small town in an era of declining resources. We also love food and a lot of our time together is spent making, sharing and talking about food. There is a spiritual aspect to the idea of communion (coming together) and breaking bread. We drink a fair amount of wine too.
I have a jar of mushrooms in refrigerator, a gift from a friend who gathered them yesterday but is going to out of town for a week and didn’t have time to prepare them. I will eat a few, then soak the rest in water to release their spores. I have a couple of places on my property that will support chanterells and I would love a source in my backyard. I have been eating a lot of yogurt. Another good friend gets raw milk and delivers it to me for $2.50 a gallon. I am making cheese as well as yogurt. I think of them every time I take a creamy bite of mozzarella. Another friend who lives in a very isolated house, far from the center of town, is looking for a new place. She and her husband want to closer be to the rest of us, down here where the action is. I said this to my teenage daughter and she thought it was hysterical that anyone would refer to action and our little village in the same breath. But I know what my friends means. I will keep my eyes peeled for a house for them because I want them down here too.
We value rugged individualism in our culture. We also value privacy. We allow serial killers and child rapists into our homes via the television set but we screen our calls so we don’t have to speak to the annoying neighbor about serving on a church committee. A post peak world may make us reassess that value system. That annoying neighbor may be the person who will bring you soup when you are ill or mind your children so you can get the tomatoes harvested before an early frost. Ask that team from CSI for a favor like that and see how far you get.
I love it when neighbors drop by. Even when my kitchen is a mess or I need a shower or when supper is nearly ready to put on the table, I appreciate it that they feel that comfortable enough with me and with my place in their lives to know they are welcome here. We can always fit in one more.
I store a lot of stuff as you all know. I have toothpaste and shoelaces, tomato sauce and dried shitakes. I can make a cup of coffee with no power and prepare cheese from my dried milk. But my most important emergency supply is my bucket of friends. I treasure them.