So I think I have previously mentioned a little about my almost-didn’t-happen new best friends. What does almost-didn’t-happen mean? It means I came very close to not opening myself up to meet them when that decision was upon me. There’s a saying that goes something like “It’s usually the things in life that you don’t do that you regret, not the things that you do”. This wisdom applies on all fronts with the following story.
It all started with this blog. I had a new subscriber, Ken Zak, who would comment on my articles in length, and would also send me suggestions on IM as to things to see, places to go. We began to do a lot of chat this way, he was very interested and helpful. He was very excited about my upcoming adventure and shared my love for nature and animals.
Once I knew I was going to be coming close to where Ken (and Rilla!) lived, I let them know and they jumped into all sorts of offers to meet, let me stay at their home, to try Rilla’s pizza, take me on a tour of their hometown, etc. My first thought was “How nice!”. My second thought was “Well that’s weird, how open they sound, they don’t even know me.”
If you know me, you know I am an introvert. I am not super social, either. However, with the excitement of the trip and all of the ‘newness’ that goes with it, I thought, “Why not…Let’s do this, they sound nice, give it a chance!”
So I let them know when I was coming, they gave me their address, and I mapped my way to their neighborhood in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.
However, when I got to Sun Prairie, I started to let my negative Nelly internal voice get to me. (What if we don’t get along? What if I don’t like them? What if they are axe murderers? Do I have the energy to be social right now? MMMM, I don’t think I want to do this!)
My mental voice pulled this act right when I stopped at a gas station to let them know I was there. I almost texted them to decline. It lasted maybe 2 minutes and then I decided heck with it. It would be par for the course with what I have just gotten myself into with all this RV’ing change of life. I texted Rilla and she replied that Ken was on his way on his BIKE.
So, I got out of the truck and got into the RV with the girls, who I had just walked. I tooled around for a minute, put my pepper spray in my pocket, then ‘hid’ myself in position in front of my bed window so I could stalk his arrival, and make sure he passed at least a visual test that he wasn’t a crazy man. Right as I plunked down, there was a knock on the door! He beat me to it. (Dangit!)
You already know that it went OK if you read the title to this blog. I have been truly blessed to know such people who have made a huge impact in my life and as to how I carry myself and see other people now. So much so that I had to devote an entire story about them.
Ken and Rilla Zak. First I will just run down what they did for me. These things may not sound so Uh-mazing, but when you live in an RV, and resources are at an all-time low, any RV’er knows that these things were priceless. First, they literally put me up right behind their home in a very well maintained neighborhood. I had power and I could have had water, but cannot for the life of me remember why I didn’t do so. They were willing to let me stay as long as I wanted. (Within reason I’m sure, but they said AS LONG AS YOU WANT.) They trusted me instantly. Let me make the list easier to read:
- Fed me. A lot
- Let me do laundry in their house
- Watched The Girls for me
- Let me wash Trix and Giz in their home
- Washed my Rv
- Yes, Ken WASHED MY WHOLE RV one day while I was away!!!
- Then he washed my truck, and I helped.
- Took me on the tour they promised
- And took me on a tour/hike
- Praised me in many ways I don’t feel I deserve, but I do just a tiny bit more now with their backing
- Fixed up my bike chain
- Fixed my new iPad case so it truly fit my iPad
- Made leashes for the bike basket for the dogs
- Made a homemade leash for Gizmo (complete with a snap) to replace my ghetto string
- Warned me that my RV tires were dry and told me what to put on them, which I did
- Cleaned up my Stihl trimmer. (Yes, I brought it with me. Don’t ask me why)
- Let me stay in their home even if they weren’t there. Right away.
- Let me keep the pups there even if they weren’t there
- Let me charge my electronics in their house before I finally hooked up to power
- Let me use their WIFI
- Showered in their house
- And on and on and on…
I am sure I am forgetting some key things, unfortunately, as It’s MY brain trying to remember and it’s been a whole two weeks or so since I left.
The biggest thing they did for me is to help me really really see the good in people again. And to learn selflessness. Ken and Rilla are ALWAYS so HAPPY, and it is genuine. It’s not the annoying type. I can see right through fake happiness.
They are SO SO SO nice!!! They have been married for 42 years? (Again, My brain.)
They took me in without question and made me feel like the coolest person around. I am lucky to have had them come into my life and give me this gift of love and acceptance. The gift of knowing that there are really really good people out there. They did not want anything from me in return, and I felt so out of balance with wanting to reciprocate the enormous amount of little life treasures that they don’t even realize that gave to me. When I would try to emphasize this about them TO them, they would always say ‘We’re just being us’. And it was true. Well, their ‘us’ is exceptional to me, and my words are not even doing ANY justice here to explain.
At least I could reciprocate with this- I got to ‘cook’ them my Tortilla Surprise! They enjoyed it, as challenging as it is to eat.
Like, the nicest people in the world. And they like me!!? Makes me feel like a better person than I believe I really am. I am so glad that I decided to take that chance and followed through on my decision to meet Ken and Rilla Zak.
Thank you, Ken and Rilla. You are truly an inspiration.
I love you both! (But you already knew that!)
Your greatest admirer,