New friend literally blows into Large farm
By Dale and Elisa Large
Imperial area residents
Wheat harvest is finally finished. It was three weeks of stop and start due to some very nasty storms. Several produced large sized hail and damaging winds. We had been lucky and the damage had missed our crops. Some by just hours.
It was the first night my husband had been able to eat dinner before 9:30 p.m. In fact by 9 p.m. we were just sitting down to watch some TV. As per normal for this time of year my husband was sound asleep on the couch within 10 minutes of TV watching. I heard the wind picking up outside and went to the computer to check the weather radar. There was that big mass of orange and red surrounded by green and it was traveling right to us.
As I returned to the living room to inform my husband I saw a figure on our front porch. I woke up my husband and opened the door to find a somewhat nervous man. He was small in stature and wearing special biking gear. I noticed a nice looking bike next to the side of the house. With the wind now at 50 mph and forecasted to increase in the near future, I waved the man inside and motioned for him to bring in his bike.
He said a few words but I wasn’t able to understand. I knew it was a foreign language and mistook it for German. I asked “German?” He replied, “French, I don’t speak English.” Through sign language we determined the wind had just about knocked him over.
Several groups of bikers had been through our area in the last couple of weeks so I attempted to find out if there was any others. He ran and got his cell phone but was unable to receive any reception. I pointed at our phone and he attempted to dial an unknown number in New York.
I thought he might be hungry so I showed him the cake I had baked earlier. His face lit up and he smiled and nodded. As I cut him a piece of cake and got him a glass of milk my husband was able to dial a New York number.
He spoke with a man who explained our visitor was riding his bike from New York to San Francisco and was alone. Passing the phone back and forth for translations we invited the visitor to spend the night with us and wait for the weather to pass. That was agreeable to our visitor who we determined was named Christopher.
I motioned for him to follow me and I showed him the bathrooms and where he would be sleeping. A silent nod told me he understood. As the thunder sounded and the lightning flashed we settled around the kitchen table and ate our cake.
Through more sign language and a computer translation program we learned he was a carpenter from the mountain area east of Paris. Dale and I settled in for more TV and our guest motioned he was going to take a shower. After his shower he wrote on a piece of paper 6:30 a.m. and motioned riding a bike. Dale nodded and understood he wished to be on his way at 6:30 a.m. the next morning. “No problem,” I remarked, “I get up at 5 a.m. He shook his head in disbelief and retired for the night.
After a fitful night of sleep I got up at 5 a.m. and started breakfast biscuits, gravy, scrambled eggs, fruit, homemade jam, coffee and juice. Christopher woke up at 6 a.m. and smiled when I offered coffee and breakfast. We ate in near silence, then took a couple of pictures and saw him to the door. Christopher thanked us and attempted to give us money. Dale and I quickly refused and told him it was an honor to have him.
He wrote down our address and promised to send us a post card from San Francisco. With a large smile and a “thumbs up” sign he was on his way.
As I thought about this visitor I was reminded about another traveling carpenter. I remarked to my husband that better than giving us money would be for this young man to return to France with warm memories of Nebraska and the United States as a whole.