Monday, July 4, 2011

Peddling Peddlers

The backpack. The bike. No white shirt and no dark pants. No, it is actually shorts and a t-shirt.

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)


Finding Pam said...

Lailani, you really took a leap of faith by offering food and shelter to this young man. The most important thing is that you did what was in your heart. What a wonderful story.

Belle (from Life of a...) said...

What a sweet thing! Isn't amazing the "gifts" you receive when you take time to help other.

Hilary said...

What a lovely evening born of kindness and consideration. Good for all of you.

texwisgirl said...

wonderful gift you exchanged with that young man. congrats on your POTW!

Suldog said...

Truly excellent tale. Congratulations on your POTW!

Anonymous said...

I Love that you took the time to do this for another human being. So many of us need to follow your lead.

Congratulations on your POTW!! Very deserving.


silly rabbit said...

I can see why Hillary picked this for a POTW award! Much deserved.
Isn't it funny how we've stopped giving rides to hitchhikers, or inviting strangers into our homes? We've become such a suspicious bunch that we forget some very important lessons. My hat is off to you and your husband!

Barb said...

Life's most important lessons begin at home. A great story - made my day, actually. I like your husband, too...
As for Reading, are they too old for bribery (I was once a reading teacher...) Congrat on your POTW!

Debbie said...

I feel blessed to read this story! It's very convicting to me, too, because I am a pedaling salesman hider.

Your family listened to the still, small voice, and you made the whole state of Georgia look good.

God bless you!

Poetic Soul said...

One of the best things in life is the gift to help those in need

Shrinky said...

As a struggling 18yrs old (too many decades ago worth mentioning), I sold encyclopedia's door-to-door. I shall never forget the kindness I also recieved in the midst of a thunderstorm from a family very similair to your own. The great thing is I've been able to pay it forward down the years.. perhaps your dinner guest will do likewise, too.

Maybe your kind actions have started a whole series of ripples to spread..

theMuddledMarketPlace said...

i LOVE this post!