Yes, it is summertime. Time for the summer push of books to help our kids excel in school. Books they don’t open past the initial purchase. At least not mine.
I spotted him a week ago a couple blocks away. When I returned home, I let The Man know that he didn’t need to open the door if someone came to it. Last summer, Ocho and Demolition D and The Man were home when the book peddler showed up. They answered the door and somehow left The Man (the youngest) to patiently hear out the traveling college student.
Do they visit your neighborhood? College students from abroad, stateside for the summer, to see America, improve their English?
One evening maybe 3 years ago, we ended up with one of these visitors sitting on our living room floor trying to sell us books. Trying between the questions we were asking regarding their life and their home. While we did not buy, she was a persistent salesperson.
So I tend to avoid them.
The other night I spotted the peddler again. This time, as I looked out the window at home.
It was about 7pm Friday night.
We were putting the finishing touches on dinner.
Liquid gold had just started to fall. We are in a drought so even a 20 minute shower is a wonder to see.
The peddler stopped his bike, then looked around at the pine trees. We have one with a somewhat lower, fat branch, so he and his backpack of books attempted to take refuge underneath.
As I was battling inside with my conscience: do I call out to him to come to the porch, No I don’t want to buy any books, Maybe, do you want to come in, ugh, a book salesmen….My wonderful husband noticed him. After a second he asked what I thought about inviting him in to join us for dinner.
And that is what he did. He walked out in the rain, greeted the young man with, “We don’t want to buy anything, but would you like to join us for dinner.”
An immediate yes was the reply.
Reima the peddling book peddler joined us for dinner.
At 17 and 15, Demolition D and The Man enjoyed asking questions and hearing about Reima’s home in Estonia. As my wonderful husband tried to enunciate to help our foreign visitor understand our English, I realized, maybe all Americans get loud when trying to speak to a person with broken English and a strong foreign accent. We learned a little about Finland too.
After Reima left, to finish his route, and hopefully sell some books, Will called Traveler in Philly to tell her about our guest from Estonia. Since she loves all things foreign, this would be something she found interesting. And she did.
While we had a great time learning about his home and goals for his future and a few of his encounters here, I relished more in the experience and example for our children.
I relish in the fact that Will demonstrated “love your neighbor.” That my kids got to see that in action. As I laid in bed that night, I felt like the kids were able to be a part of the “as you have done to the least of these.” Not to say this gentleman was “the least of these,” but inviting a stranger in for dinner, is not common place.
The next day I hijacked Will’s facebook, and I was delighted to read a comment Traveler had left on his page: I told a friend from work and she said, "wow, that's something from another era!" I was like, "no, people are just nice in Georgia."
So not only did my husband’s suggestion and offer demonstrate love to this house, Will’s humble, no ulterior motivated, straight from the heart, decision demonstrated a good deed followed through on to other’s, 900 miles away in Philadelphia.
I feel so blessed!
"Dear friend, you are being faithful to God when you care for
the traveling teachers who pass through, even though
they are strangers to you."
3 John 1:5 (NLT)