Our to do list is so long, we had decided to forgo fixing the hot water pipe until next summer, especially since we may bust another one this winter anyway. But when I met the neighbors who live across the road from our road, I forgot we'd decided that and asked them for the name of a plumber. When the husband heard why we need a one, he was quizzical, “You don't call a plumber to fix a pipe.” I explained that there was one spot Aaron hadn't been able to solder because the pipe was too close to the pine log wall and the output on his flame thrower, excuse me, blow torch isn't adjustable. “So why not throw on some Pex with some Shark Bite?” Hmmm, yes, why not? Our learning curve in so very many areas is so very steep. Then this neighbor that I had literally just met said he'd come and fix the pipe.
Sure enough, the next afternoon, he came with yet another neighbor and they fixed our pipe. Now we have hot water, which is one of the more lovely modern conveniences. But more important than the hot water is the psychological aspect of getting that help. To have two people—one a virtual stranger, the other a literal stranger—come and help us has bolstered our spirits enormously. 'Oh, right,' we've been reminded, 'we are off-the-grid, but not alone in the wilds somewhere.' And not only are we not alone in the wilds, it turns out we have fantastically nice neighbors. We might even, hope, oh, hope, become part of a strong community.
They invited us to come meet the neighbors at a happy hour hosted at someone's home. They also all get together for supper regularly, potluck at a different house each month. And we're invited there also. Really? And here is where the Brooklyn in me comes to the fore, a mosquito-sized buzz of a voice says, “These people are too nice.” So helpful, so friendly, surely it is only a matter of time before they start trying to get us to drink the Kool-Aid. And, indeed, in the movie version, they would turn out to pod people or members of a cannibalistic cult. But I'm not actually too worried because they aren't exhibiting any of the dead-give-away signs: they don't smile just a little bit too broadly or hold those smiles for just a little bit too long and their eyes aren't just that hair too wide open when they smile. In all seriousness, they really just seem remarkably nice.