For the next two months I will be living in the countryside with Chris and Jean, an endearing couple who quickly are becoming my local grandparents. At the back of their open, elegant house stands my room. Painted moss green with a rocking chair and a big window that looks out into the garden, it will make a peaceful nook for graduate work.

Jean, who won the Miss Minnesota title in 1960, has long white hair, which she pins on top of her head. She had a career as a singer and raised two sons. Chris, tall with a booming voice, played for the Cleveland Indians and then worked as an enterprising businessman, traveling all over the country. He loves to tease Jean.

Last night we sat down to dinner, the highlight of which was okra, picked fresh from the garden and looking like tiny green rocket ships. Chris cooked them on the grill. I bit into the crunchy, blackened skin, and felt tiny white beads role on my tongue. Then we savored Jean’s homemade peach pie.

To invite someone into your home and life is a profound act of love.

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