When my husband brought this Yankee wife "down home," I had real trouble with certain Southern concepts. Like, why do southerners fry everything? Can't you just bake the chicken?? And exactly how do you fry the blessed thing without burning the outside? But I really had a problem with letting strangers into our home. After all, I am a New Yorker, and in New York, you don't let anyone in without a full FBI background check.
One night at about 11:00 pm, a knock came at our door. Who on earth could be calling at this time of night? Being a newly transplanted Yankee, I hid behind the door with my handy-dandy two-quart cast iron chicken fryer (much to Scott's dismay) as he opened the door to find two young men on our doorstep.
They introduced themselves as Steve and David and asked if they could please use our telephone. From my hiding spot behind Scott, I passed the cordless out to them, making it pretty clear that they were to stay outside on the porch (and away from our sleeping children) where strangers belong. "I'm really sorry," Steve apologized, "But it's long distance, and I don't have any money to give you. The thing is, I need to call my dad." Scott dismissed their concerns and told them to call whoever and wherever they needed.
The boy's story unfolded: Some months previously, David was living at home in Florida when his father, upset with him for rebellious behavior, had really let into him. Angry with his dad, David had run away to Philadelphia where life since had treated him pretty poorly. His rebellious spirit broken, David realized that his father was right all along, and that he needed to go home. He needed to make things right. He needed his father.
A few months later, he met up with Steve who immediately agreed to drive David home to Florida in his family's vehicle. The problem was that Steve's family only had one vehicle, and that Steve was barely seventeen. There was no way his father was going to agree to let him drive this stranger to Florida. So he left a note and took the car. And then they had run out of food. And then they had run out of money. And then they had run out of gas.
And now they were on our doorstep.
Steve dialed his home, and we could hear his father's voice booming over the phone. "Yes sir, I'm fine. No, sir, this isn't a pleasure cruise. Dad, you don't understand. Yes, sir, I know he is a stranger. No, sir, I haven't lost my mind. Will you please . . . Please dad, listen to me. No sir, I'm not trying to argue, but I want you to think about something. Please, just listen . . . what if it were me?"
There was dead silence on the other end of the line. Scott opened the door a little further for the boys to come in, and I took my cast iron fryer back to the kitchen, busying myself burning chicken and packing up canned drinks in sack lunches - those words ringing in my ears as I thought of my own children.
"What if it were me?"
What if it were my children who were hungry, tired and broke. What if they were desperate enough to knock on a stranger's door? Would they call me?
Could they call me?
I returned with a box full of food for the boys, who were now sitting in the living room with Scott, discussing the best route to Mobile. Steve's father was wiring money to the nearest Western Union as we spoke. Scott had already filled their car with the gasoline we keep in the gas can for emergencies, and though I don't know for certain, I believe he folded a few pieces of paper into the boy's pockets.
Scott stayed on the porch as the boys drove away, while I shuffled into the girl’s room. He found me there, gently brushing the hair off from their sleeping faces, praying for God to keep my babies safe.
The Bible tells us not to be forgetful to entertain strangers, and I can't say for certain, but I wouldn't be surprised if one day I find those two boys were the "angels unawares" that the word speaks of, and I thank them both, where ever they are now, for having taught me the value of an open door.
As for the cast iron fryer - it stays in the kitchen now, the only threat it represents is the certain ruination of an otherwise perfectly good, if unsuspecting chicken.
copyright 2004 doriknight
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Dori, I think I should wear a bucket if I ever knock on your door!Thankyou for sharing your great writing.
You captured me from the very beginning. Love your style. Donna
A blessing to read! Thank you for sharing!
Dori, what a wonderful, heart-warming article. I really enjoyed it and I'm so happy to see it being showcased. Blessings Al
I'm glad I stopped to read your article. It's refreshing and reminds us of entertaining angels unaware. But we still have to be careful.
This is great! It reminds us of an all-too important message. You're humor is great, too. Hiding behind the door with a chicken fryer? I love it! Can relate! Keep up the good work.
This is well crafted piece. The capture of the reactions to that call of desperation was captivating. Well done.
Very well written! You have a gift. It was a pleasure to read.
Dori, thank you for the wonderful little story with the big message. My husband & I would hope if 1 of our 5 children were in this situation, they would come upon a home so like yours. Thanks!!
Loved it Dori! I'm sure you will find it was angels unaware. Darlene
You are a crack-up girl! To be inside that head of yours for just one hour...very entertaining. From a fellow Yankee! Jo
I loved this . Just a great story from beginning to the end . I am glad of the lesson that shined through on this piece. It does get harder to trust , but at times ...trust we must!! Blessings, Julie
Oh wow Dori, this was wonderful. The mix of humour with the message was just perfect. I was with you behind that door with the frying pan and I was also with you when the dawn of realization broke (while you were burning your chicken). What a gift you have! With love, Deb
Dori, I write so much that sometimes I fail to stop and smell the roses - or read the blessings that others have. I have seen this scenario plaed out in my own home growing up. Perhaps God sends people like this to remind us or to stretch us or because He knows we will be the perfect host - hostess. We never fail to leave in awe of God's timing and handiwork. I'm so grateful that I stopped by here. Glenn
Dori~ Absolutely awesome. As usual, you have managed to convey an important message , while still making me chuckle at the thought of you welding your skillet. I so enjoy your writing. God bless you, and thanks again. ~Mary
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