It was the first time I'd ever been to London... New London, Tx, that is.
I wasn't in town for anything fun. In fact, my reason for arrival was rather tragic.
I was there to cover a story about how an 18-wheeler plowed through a section of a historic gravesite. This site being the final home for over 100 children who died in an explosion at New London's public school in the 30's.
My first stop was the London Museum Cafe and Soda Shop.
I'm always especially nervous entering a place in East Texas I've never been before. It becomes a little more difficult to say my opening lines: "Hello, my name is Erika Bazaldua.. I'm with KLTV 7 and I was wondering if ___(insert ridiculous question no normal person would ask)____."
However, this time when I said it, the woman responded politely, "Yes, Erika. You're Saturday and Sunday mornings. I watch you every weekend."
I laughed in shock and embarrassment that I could have been so nervous.
A woman named Joann and a man named John helped me with my story today, and in turn taught me a lot about the kind of people they were; kind, wise, and giving.
I made a comment about getting a slice of pie as I made my way out of their shop for additional footage. When I stopped by to tell them goodbye before I left, a piece of coconut pie awaited my arrival at the bar.
I sat among my new friends and enjoyed a treat made more delicious by their unnecessary generosity.
How sweet it is to feel loved in a place where you are a stranger.