Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I made a point to visit an older friend of mine. Life had slipped by and I realized that though I used to see her everyday, it had been months since I had visited. Then, she got sick and I felt terrible. I knew she had come home from the hospital and I was determined to make things right before any more time elapsed.
I took her a small jar of my honey. After she admired the jar and the honey, she went for her pantry and brought out a jar of muscadine jelly. We visited for a while, talking about my garden and chickens. I realized I should have brought her some eggs. The older people in the community really like yard bird eggs, especially Dominecker eggs. I told her I would bring her a dozen after I finished my chores.
When I got home our older neighbor was in the driveway. He said there was a calf in his yard. He thought it might be ours (Thankfully it wasn't). We talked about the holidays and what his wife was cooking. He said she was getting ready to make the cakes. I asked if he wanted some good eggs to make the cakes more yellow. He wanted to pay for them, but with neighbors it is best to give. Next time the calf might be mine and I never know when the yellow dog will create mischief in someone's yard.
Anyway I gave him a dozen eggs and then took my friend her eggs. When I got to her house she had egg cartons, homemade candy for the children, and some seeds from her garden that she saved especially for me. When I got home my neighbor was back with a full sack of turnip greens. He invited my husband over to harvest collard greens this weekend.
I have decided that with these older people in town, it is impossible to give anything without receiving more than you gave. I have laughed about this often. I like to bring a small something, jar of jelly or honey, cookies, or a mess of vegetables. Yet, I never feel as if I have given anything. I don't understand all the old ways. I'm not sure if they don't want to be indebted to someone or whether it is traditional to trade so that everyone has a diverse larder. Whatever is happening, I like being a part of it - a part of a community.