February 15, 2014

Hospitality and the Kirby Kids

I stood at the stove as I watched it pull up the driveway; an old maroon mini-van. It looked full.

"Mom! Someone's here!" The children crowded around the front door as two young people, a man and a woman came up the path. They stood afar off and handed one of the children a flyer.

"Hi, I'm Michael. You must be the lady of the house!" He shouted over the children's heads because I still stood at the stove. I could see him down the hall through the open door.

I wiped my hands on a dishtowel and came towards the door. The children parted as Michael took a step up, made a low bow, and offered his hand as if he was handing me a bouquet of  flowers. I shook it.

He and his partner were the new version of the Kirby man; skinny jeans, hair slicked back in a ponytail, and a leather jacket.

After making his introduction he offered to steam clean my carpets.

"Uh, I'm in the middle of cooking din..."

"Oh, it only takes half an hour to dry." Next time I will listen better. I never heard the words 'to dry'. Maybe he whispered them. Maybe he didn't say them at all.

"No, I don't think so. I'm not in the market for a Kirby."

"There's absolutely no obligation!"

We went back and forth for a while. "Michael, you understand that I will NOT be buying a vacuum cleaner, right?"

"Yes, Ma'am. Promise me! You WON'T buy a vacuum cleaner today!" He made another low bow and offered his hand. I shook it, again.

"Well, O.K." I consented. I thought to myself, "Dinner will be ready in half an hour, I'll cook, they'll clean."

A different young lady came through the door with many Kirby cases. She introduced herself as Kelly and offered her hand. Again, I shook it. Michael came up and introduced Kelly also, offering his hand, I shook it. It seemed any time Michael spoke he offered his hand.

He asked, "Ma'am, would it be alright if Tim just hangs around to watch?"

Silently, I think, "What? What have I consented to?" Out loud I respond, "Uh..."

"He's just a guy, he's in training, he's Kelly's shadow, he'll be no trouble."

"Fine."

Tim came in, made introductions, and offered his hand. I shook it. Michael thanked me for my time and planned to leave to find another Kirby victim customer. He offered his hand. I raised both of mine in surrender. "No more hands, Michael."

"Oh. Sure. Thank you Ma'am. See you soon."

The children ate the dinner I somehow made in between all the "Why don't you give it a try?" prompts and the obligatory swipes of each Kirby attachment. I think there were 485 attachments, give or take. I spent the next two hours, yes, two hours, watching Kelly pull enough dirt out of my carpets and beds to create a new island. Disgusting. People must buy a Kirby out of guilt - guilt that they have allowed their families to live in an invisible mountain of filth that only a Kirby can suck up.

I told them they were taking too long and needed to wrap it up. They obeyed. But something else happened besides enduring a lengthy presentation. A connection was made.

Kelly, Tim and I connected.

Both of them were 21 years old. I could be their mother and my heart was softened toward them. I saw how they were working so hard and Tim looked in pathetic need of a mother's care with his long hair slicked flat, flipping out behind his ears. He wore baggy pants that hung too low, large bulky tennis shoes, and a tie to give an air of professionalism. He silently took scrupulous notes and made kind comments about my "very beautiful" home. Kelly was sweating. I offered her something to drink and instinctively called her "Dear."

Michael didn't pass on my message, so dear Kelly kept lowering the price until she was nearly begging me to buy it. I gently but firmly explained (ignoring the guilt) that I would not buy a vacuum.

And then I asked them, "Are you hungry?"

Tim, forgetting any professionalism, answered, "I'm starving!"

So I made them some sandwiches to take with them when Michael returned. Only, he didn't return. Kelly and Tim ended up eating their dinner in the kitchen while we talked about their goals. I praised them on their hard work and professionalism. Tim said he enjoys writing music and wants to be a musician.

"My children and I recorded a CD once, a few years ago," I added.

"You did?! Wow. What kind of CD?" Tim asked.

I explained that it was an album of Bible verses put to music. "Do you sell them?" Kelly asked.

"Oh, no! I just give them away."

"Can I have one?" she asked.

"Hey! I want one too! I'm the musician!" Tim exclaimed as if he was a nine year old fighting with his sister.

"Well, sure. They are simple songs, almost lullabies. Yes, you can have one." I gave them each a copy.

Michael finally returned and they prepared to leave. It was late now and they still had another presentation a few blocks away. Kelly gave me a hug and said, "I hope I see you again." Tim shouted back as he left, "First thing I'm gonna do when I get in the van is play this CD!" I laughed. Funny guy. I wondered if the rest of the van would appreciate children's voices singing Bible lullabies.

Then, I prayed a blessing on those kids...I mean young adults.

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Heb 13:2

4 comments:

  1. What a wonderful story to remind us all of the blessings that come from a generous heart. Thanks, Laura, for having opened your heart and home to those young people.

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    1. Anna~ Did you know that a Kirby vacuum cleaner also does plumbing? HaHaHa...now you do! Love, Laura

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  2. I never seem to have time for this....well, actually, that was my previous hectic life. Now that I will be a housewife (mostly) things will be a little different! However I don't need a new vacuum cleaner either.

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  3. Ha! Just came over to catch up with you, and what do I read: You took time for the Kirby Kids... while I did not. Just yesterday. I really didn't have time for it, and we only have two rooms with carpet -- both bedrooms, not going there! ha!
    But bless your sweet, kind heart! and theirs as they listen to your scripture CD! <3

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