I was out stocking stores today, and I ended up in Leavenworth, Kansas. There was no way I could leave that town and not check up on Sonia. Many years ago a nephew and I attended a show in Salina, Kansas. It was a Girl Scout show call See and Sell. Two ladies discovered our candied jalapenos that are still devoted fans to this day.
Rita worked for the highway patrol in Salina and would call me to place orders for not only herself but her fellow officers. To this day she still shares with her friends and family and now lives in Hays, Kansas. I have never really "met" her, but I feel we are the best of friends! She follows us on Facebook and is always commenting on the posts and sharing recipe ideas.
The other lady is Sonia, her husband was in the military, and she often entertained their friends and college students. She has ordered cases from me through the years and always tells me who she is sharing with and how she is serving them. When her husband passed away a few years ago, she moved to be with her daughter and granddaughter in Leavenworth. The minute she was settled in she called to let me know she had moved and was ready to stock the pantry with peppers. I took my folks along for the road trip, and we met her. She has a beautiful place in the country, raises Lamas and already is the social butterfly with the guys who worked on her home and neighbors. In fact, when we pulled up a friend was hoping I had an extra case for her. Sonia hooked her brother up with our peppers when she was visiting him in Arizona. He is one of the Gold Rush miners and has a TV series. He also likes to share with his fellow miners. I get orders from them letting me know how they discovered our Kansas peppers.
Sonia and her friends asked me to stock them in Leavenworth, and that is how Gronis Hardware and Westlake Ace Hardware in town started carrying our peppers. They now send all their friends to the hardware stores to get their peppers.
Today, I had Sonia on my mind. I hadn't heard from her in awhile, and for some reason, I felt the need to check in on her. I'm so glad I did. She was getting ready to head out the door to her "job" of teaching the blind at a school. She had been busy working on her place and keeping up with her farm. She checked her pantry while I was there to be sure she had peppers and told me her grandson would eat them straight out of the jar and how she now gives him a little bowl of them whenever he sits at the table. She also mentioned a wedding at her place and how she intended to have them serve the candied jalapenos appetizers. As I was leaving Sonia told me she would turn 80 this year. She is indeed an amazing woman, friend and huge supporter of Campbell Gardens. I left her a jar of the pickles for her to try and will be waiting to hear her response.
Life is a journey, and those of you along the way whom one bumps into makes it a memorable trip. Thanks to all of you who have "bumped" into us, you have all made an enormous difference in so many ways.