Some boys come home with a dog at their heels and ask permission to keep it. This past weekend, Mike brought home a homeless couple and asked if they could stay a while.
I had just returned from a trip to Savannah with my Girl Scout troop. We had made the pilgrimage to the Juliet Gordon Lowe home, the birthplace of the Girl Scouts, and it had been a success. My co-leader and I, along with three mother-chaperones and nine girls, had scoured River Street, strolled through the city on a Ghost Tour, participated in an art workshop, and spotted about 20 dolphins on a boat tour. Best of all, we had arrived home safely, and we still liked one another.
Mike had timed his request at just the right moment. I was still feeling the glow of overseeing the logistics for our merry band of Scouts. I was winding down with a glass of wine when he layed out his plans. We would benefit from getting a jumpstart on countless home improvement projects around the house, and our guests, Paul and Denise, would benefit from my great cooking and a roof over their heads. Besides, Mike reasoned, it would give us a great opportunity to help out two other human beings.
Our house guests arrived the next day, and Mike made the introductions. Paul and Denise started immediately on one of 248 projects Mike had listed as necessary for putting our house on the market. Paul and Denise worked hard all day, raved about my cooking at dinner, and crashed early on the futon in our basement.
I slept poorly that night. I kept waiting for the ax murderer to charge down the hall with a weapon in his hands. As much as I trusted Mike’s judgment, I kept thinking how crazy it was to allow strangers in the house.
The next day pretty much resembled the first. Over dinner I learned that Paul and Denise hailed from Provo, Utah. They had headed east to Maryland to spend his mother’s final days with her before she lost a battle with cancer. On their way back to Utah, their car broke down in Union City, and they spent every last dime they had on repairs. They were broke and homeless. Over the next few weeks they worked their way up to the Home Depot store in Dunwoody where they met Mike.
By Thursday we had fallen into a rhythm. Paul and Denise awoke early and drank half a pot of coffee and smoked a few cigarettes, which they admitted was their only vice, before starting to work. I did a nationwide criminal background check on them in the meantime, and nothing turned up.
It looks as though mi casa is their casa through Thanksgiving.