I went for a walk in the woods this morning as the sun was shining but we were forecast to have rain this afternoon. I waited for a man with a dog to pass me at the junction of the paths and we spoke a few words as you do. He was carrying some sticks of rhubarb and I jokingly said that I was sure he hadn't foraged those in the wood to which he replied that there was a house nearby which often put the stuff outside with an honesty box for a local charity. I said I would have to go and have a look sometime but not this morning as I had no money with me and a moment of two later as he departed he turned back and gave me a couple of sticks. I refused but he was adamant and said he'd feel guilty if he kept it all for himself and so I continued my walk carrying not only my old stick (a piece of branch I found some years ago and got Mr M to cut to the correct length for me even though I do have a proper walking ploe) in one hand but the rhubarb in the other. We get to recognise each other in our little wood and all say hello or good morning and some of us stop for a chat too but we don't know each other's names. I can imagine people referring to me as that eccentric old woman with the stick who wears tattered jeans and an old coat but now they'll think me even weirder as they can tell each other she was carrying two sticks of rhubarb the other morning! I wonder if the man would have given them to me if I had been 40 and well dressed or did he think "poor old dear on her own" as he said "If you are on your own it might be enough for something".
So I returned home with my bounty and the knowledge of where I might be able to get some more if I remembered my purse next time. I cooked the rhubarb in the oven and it was plenty for me with some fresh yoghurt and Mr M had the remains of the Eve's pudding I'd made yesterday and there is enough rhubarb to make us both a rhubarb puff pastry tartlet tomorrow. We get our foodstuff where we can these days!!
I did wonder later what one of my friends who thinks I am not careful enough about sanitising things like the post or my shopping or books swapped with neighbours would have to say about my accepting the gift handled by someone I don't know who might not have washed his hands before collecting the rhubarb and then carrying it in my hand and bringing it into the house and cooking it with a just desultory wipe with a damp cloth beforehand.
Not only did I not have a purse with me this morning but I didn't take my camera either so the photo at the top of this post is an old one of the spot where I was given the rhubarb and the other image is a clip art one and not the 2 sticks I was given!!