Monday, November 30, 2009

New Friends




On Monday evening, November 9, Tim and I were at the farm making last-minute preparations for guests. I heard the crunch of tires on gravel and looked out the kitchen window. “They’re here,” I called out to Tim and hurried out the front door. A white truck towing a fifth-wheel made its way around the last curve in the driveway and pulled into the yard. Out stepped a lady I had not met in person before. Behind the wheel of the truck was her husband. Lisa and Tony Cianchetta had arrived in Arkansas.


It all started about a year ago. I left a comment on Lisa’s blog, which I had seen on One Stop for Apostolic Bloggers. She had written a funny post about what to buy your husband for Christmas. I read the post aloud to Tim, and we got such a laugh out of it. I left a comment telling her so. She commented back, and the rest, as they say, is history. John was going to Sacramento with a friend, and Lisa and Tony were putting them up in their guest house. Lisa and I exchanged emails, and she sent me pictures of the guys in California. Tony and Kyle, their son, took John snow skiing at Lake Tahoe, and he had a blast. He told us what nice folks the Cianchettas were and how much we have in common. Lisa and I continued to stay in touch. She commented that it was obvious from our blogs that both our husbands love to hunt and suggested that they get it touch and plan a hunt. So, we did just that. Tony invited Tim out west to hunt, but Tim just didn’t feel he could get away because we were gone so much this summer. He invited Tony to come to Arkansas to hunt whitetail deer. And so it came to pass.


We hit it off from the first night. We laughed as they told us about their final approach to the farm. As they started down the country lane that leads to the farm gate, they saw some folks out in an untidy yard. An obese lady was burning trash in a barrel. Tony turned to Lisa and said, “Do we know anything about these people we are going to visit?” He was a little worried. Arkansas folks do have a reputation, and it’s not all good. Thank goodness, our yard was tidy, and we weren’t burning trash in a barrel. They might have turned around and left. Apparently, they don’t burn trash in Cali. :)


Each day, the guys hunted and Lisa and I ventured out to Conway, to NLR, and to Little Rock to shop and eat and see the sights. On Tuesday night we all went to church. And on Friday night, Lisa and I went to a ladies meeting at church. The menu included catfish and grits 'n greens. While not too fond of catfish, I think Lisa was duly impressed with grits 'n greens. Oh, lands sake, they were mighty good! I asked for an extra serving of them, and they brought me a big ol' bowl and I just about made myself sick.


Oh, and we cooked. Lisa said we cooked more in eight days than she had cooked in the last five years. We southern girls like to show our hospitality by cooking. I must say Lisa was a huge help; it was nice to have another gal in the kitchen.


The first night we had a shrimp boil.


Lisa and I eating barbeque at Burges in the Heights. Lisa had her first fried pie here. She and Tony had never heard of fried pies. Oh, the deprivation! We bought a dozen more and took them home to share with the guys. Also, some Peach Jezebel Sauce. You haven't lived if you haven't had Peach Jezebel Sauce. Lisa bought a jar to take back to Cali with her.
The cook in the kitchen window of Burges obliged Lisa by posing for her.
The fried pies were a hit when we got home.

Lisa loved Nick. The feeling was mutual.

Tony got a couple of nice bucks.

The guys hauled their kills to the house in the frontend loader of the tractor.

Tony taught Tim how to butcher a deer.

The guys went pheasant hunting at Wings and Rings one day and took David R. with them.

On the last night, we cooked up the pheasant for a dinner with the Nesterenkos. Lisa and Tony went to church with them in California many years ago and had no idea they were here. They had not seen each other in about 25 years. Lisa and Sis. Nesterenko reconnected when they discovered each other at the ladies meeting.

(I had a picture of dinner with the Nesterenkos right here. Blogger is behaving badly tonight. My picture has not only disappeared, but Blogger refuses to put it in this spot when I upload it again.)

We had a great visit. Now Tim and I are planning to go to California next October. The guys are going on a bear hunt. Lisa and I are going to the beach and to Monterey.

Lisa and Tony, you are the ultimate guests. We are so glad to have become friends with you. Thanks for all the goodies. Ya'll come back now, you hear?


Here's a funny video of Tony on his first climbing stand.