This is the most touching story I have read on Activerain in forever. Thanks to Elizabeth for reblogging it and now I am.
Heading to my home town this week for a wedding and I had already thought about going to see if I could walk through my home I grew up in, in Paducah, Ky.
I Don't Care Who You Are, This Will make You Cry...We Let A Stranger In Our House...And A Friend Into Our Hearts
In early July, I admit, we did something most people would consider a very foolish thing. We let a total stranger in our house.
It was a Sunday morning and my Chris and I were about to pull out of the driveway on our way to find breakfast at a yet to be determined restaurant, when I noticed a car was pulling over to the side of the road opposite our driveway. I asked Chris to roll down her window as I expected the solitary gentleman in that car might have a question or perhaps need directions.
"Do you live here?" the fortyfive-ish stranger asked,
"Yes we do," Chris replied.
"This is the house where I grew up," he said. "Could I visit for a minute. I won't take much of your time. I can see you are on your way out."
With that, I stepped out of the car and said, "Why don't you pull into the driveway and get your car off the road."
In the next minute, we were shaking hands in the driveway and he introduced himself as Pete Martin. He asked if the Kelleys still lived next door and pointed to the second floor bedroom that was his and described how the chimney ran right up through the middle of the room. I asked if he would like to tour our home. He happily agreed.
As we passed through each room, Pete shared some little memory about the room and about the house and asked if the lilacs were still behind the house where he had buried his much loved dog. I showed him that the lilacs, and most likely his dog, had been relocated to another part of the yard to make room for the pool that we now enjoy. Through this stroll down memory lane, Pete shared a bit about his life.
Pete told us he had retired from a military career in the Air Force and now lived in Tennessee. After over twenty years of service, he was still not ready to give up flying and serving our country, so he became a Government contractor flying special operations forces in combat missions over Afghanistan, and tomorrow, he would be on a plane going back there and not returning until September.
Out of pure coincidence, he was visiting a friend in Londonderry, NH and asked if he could borrow his car to drive over to North Hampton in the hope we might be home when he knocked on our door. He had made this drive some years earlier, and we were not home. :-(
When we finished the tour of the house, Pete asked us if we could take a few pictures of him with his mobile phone and we took a few with our camera. We exchanged email addresses to stay in touch. As he was getting ready to leave, Pete made it clear, that by inviting him, a total stranger, into our home, we had given him something he something he would never forget. We had given him, the WORLD....and yesterday, well, he turned around and gave it back to us, in a way I know I will never forget.
While I was at my first showing yesterday, Chris called me on my cell and told me we had received a package from Afghanistan from Pete. I could not get home fast enough from the showing.
Seated at the kitchen table, Chris handed me the package and asked me to open it. Inside, was an American Flag, a copy of the Stars and Stripes daily newspaper published for members of the military, a copy of the July 2011 edition of Freedom Watch Afghanistan magazine and the following letter and special presentation:
Now, most of you know I am a Pease Greeter at Pease AFB in Portsmouth, NH, welcoming our troops home from duty or sending them overseas to Iraq or Afghanistan. If you enjoy freedom, thank someone in the military. Maybe you could stop by Pete Martin's Facebook page and thank him. I know that's where I'm headed as soon as I publish this blog.
If you would like to know why I chose Seacoast New Hampshire to make my home, click here to email me, and I can make a real convincing argument for you to choose it too! Or, if you would like to do your own home search, sign up NOW on my website for our exclusive Home Scout Program.