On Tuesday after an early morning drive across the prairie, two flights to the west coast, a drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, I wound my way through the green hills of Northern California to a dairy farm. My good friend Nancy aka The Wife of A Dairyman and I drove with her daughter to pick up her son at their countryside one room school house. I couldn’t believe my eyes to see a one room school with a sign on it that said “Established 1872” that was still in operation, filled with bubbly kids grades K-6. I was nostalgic thinking of the abandoned one room school houses that dot the prairie I call home.
For an afternoon snack, Nancy, her sweet kids and I drove down the country road to The Cheese Factory which is the oldest American cheese factory.
I fell in love with the cheese. I tasted and tasted. I am ordering online to have it shipped directly to the prairie. While I was immersed with Nancy’s daughter, Paige, age 4, in watching through the window as the cheese was being wrapped in the back room, my mind wandered a bit still thinking of home, the one-room school house I had just visited, why we can’t have one-room rural school houses still on the prairie and what it was like for my grandparents to attend their one-room school together.
In the midst of my deep thought, I heard someone calling “Katie. Katie. Katie.”
Since I was in the “middle of no where” of California, not really but at least in a “rural” area of a very urban state, I ignored the call of my name and kept to my thinking of one-room school houses. There were only about 7 people in the entire shop but there must another Katie, I thought.
I just kept studying the cheese and thinking about how lovely little rural school houses would be on the prairie again.
Then my thoughts broke, I turned around to see who had called my name. I burst into laughter as Nancy said “Oh you don’t really know someone here, do you?”
There standing 20 feet from me was my dear sister’s high school classmate, Kristy. My sister and Kristy weren’t just classmates. They have been close friends since elementary school…in a class of 25 students…in a town of 1000 people…in eastern North Dakota. It wasn’t a one room school house but it was and is a small, rural school that brought my sister and Kristy together.
I saw Kristy grow up alongside my sister. I cheered for her loudly at games, meets and listened to her in choir and band concerts. I remember she and my sister in many of their junior high and high school “moments” like proms and their graduation.
Then I also remember last year at my sister and brother-in-law’s wedding that Kristy was also in and attended that she and her husband were moving to California. She was going to be stationed at an Air Force base…which just happens to be about an hour from The Cheese Factory.
Kristy is training for a marathon and on Tuesday decided to venture to the rural California hills for some afternoon training with two friends and made a stop for cheese after their runs.
You just never know who you will see across thousands of miles, over the hills and freeways in the oldest cheese factory in America. It might be a dear old friend.
I tasted the best cheese ever on our visit. Add in the company of friends that was even better, there’s no doubt I’ll be back at The Cheese Factory some day.
I might just see you there. You just never know.