The UHaul truck swayed and bounced as the miles zoomed beneath her wheels. With each hill we crested I expected to see our new town gleaming on the horizon. The answers to my son and daughter’s inquiries–as to how much longer–were finally getting rapidly smaller. A familiar tune filled the cab–emanating from the now glowing screen with my wife’s name on it. She was following close behind in our overstuffed Dodge Grand Caravan, and was calling to remind me of the plans we had discussed before we left.
The house we were moving to would still be occupied for the better part of a week. But since we were limited on miles we needed to park the UHaul near the house and then carpool to the house of some friends who were generous enough to let my wife and I and our 5 children invade for several days. The only problem (besides all the ones I just listed) was that our van was so full of coolers, suitcases, pillows, computers, and a trombone, that there wasn’t room for all seven of us to fit. When we reached the first St George off ramp my wife would need to go one way with the van to unload some of our stuff and I would go the other way to find a place to park our UHaul.
I quickly found our soon to be home, and tried to find a place that wouldn’t draw attention or seem like we were anxious for the current occupants to get out (even though we were). We had needed to come before our house was available because school started the next day for our kids. But we were left with the dilemma of what to do with all of our stuff in the meantime. So there we sat looking at what would become our future home, with all of our belongings from our previous home packed tightly into the metal box behind us.
Within minutes of us parking, someone from inside the house poked their head out the side door and peeked back at us. Their head disappeared back into the house and a moment later a different head peered around the door frame. One by one each member of their family took a turn to look incredulously at us.
After we sat there awkwardly for a very long couple of minutes, I thought maybe if we got out of the truck and looked at the empty lot we were next to it would ease the tension. That lasted a good three minutes until my daughter announced that she really needed to use the restroom. Now we had a new dilemma: Do we go knock on the door of the house that we will be moving into? Do we go knock on some other neighbor’s door? Do I tell her to hold it until her mother comes back. Do I tell her to find a bush to hide behind.
Just then my my wife sends a message saying that she is going to be a while.
I scanned the area looking for a better plan. Down a little hill and across the street are several mostly nondescript buildings–none of which look like they are open to the public. We decide they are our best chance. But, in order to get there we have to walk around our future house (which is on the corner) and which the whole family is now sitting outside of so they can get a better look at us. We walk casually past smiling and waving as though parking a UHaul there and then abandoning it is the most normal thing in the world.
We cross the road and begin looking at the buildings for a possible restroom. Nothing is looking inviting. The sun is hot and my daughter is getting more anxious. Then I notice a pharmacy across the parking lot. It has a big friendly sign: Siena’s Pharmacy. I herd the children in that direction hoping that they have a restroom we can use and that they won’t make me buy something in order to use it (My mind begins racing through our current prescriptions).
We step inside and the air conditioning is a welcome relief. A lady and a man behind the counter look up at us expectantly. I point to my daughter and–stammering–ask if they have a restroom she can use. They smile and say of course, pointing to a door on the other side of the room. My daughter disappears and I thank the people behind the counter.
“You know,” says the man, “you are our first guests since we opened the doors just the other day. That man there…” he points outside to a man getting in his truck, “He just finished putting the tint on the windows”
“Well,” I say, “I wish we were buying something, but we actually just pulled our UHaul into town and are moving in across the road”
Instead of appearing let down that we weren’t buying anything, they instead welcomed us to the town and offered us all bottles of water. They were extremely friendly and wanted to know all about our move and where we had lived before. I soon figured out that they were husband and wife and they had a little 4-year-old daughter there with them. She appeared with a bowl of candy for my kids to choose from. They told us that they had just moved here a year before and how much they loved it. We swapped stories about places we had lived and things we had done. Then we got a tour of the new facility and were asked our opinion on some of the woodworking designed to make the place more kid friendly. (I suddenly felt more like an expert than a frazzled father who was currently homeless.) One of the wooden items that I gave my ‘professional’ opinion on, were some steps that children–including their own daughter could use to peek through a large glass window into the compounding room.
The entire office was quite nice and well planned out, but all I could think about was how friendly and accommodating these people were to us. Within a few minutes, I felt like we had been friends for years. I told them that I had been impressed with everyone that I had met so far–since we drove into town. They expressed how glad they were at that. I then smiled and said that they were the only ones we had met so far. They laughed at that and then we told them that we had better get going back over to the UHaul. They shocked me again with kindness by suggesting that we move the UHaul and park it next to their building where their security cameras would be watching it all night. I told them that it would be several days before we moved it and they insisted that we bring it over.
We thanked them again and headed toward the door. Their little daughter waved and said, “Goodbye. I love you.” We all paused and laughed and I couldn’t help but say, “I love you, too”.
As we walked back toward the truck, my wife showed up with the van and I told her what had happened. I told her how amazing these people were and how I felt like we had already made friends.