July 1, 2005
Pulling onto Crawford Avenue Devon checked his watch and saw that it was nearing 11AM Eastern. He eased the Uhaul truck over a few bumps in the road and saw a group of young men standing outside of the house he was now to consider his home. Unsure of their purpose, Devon carefully guided the truck to a stop along the street near the entrance of Hays House and threw the brake into park. Turning off the engine just as Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly faded out on their “Golden Time of Day,” he exited the cab and climbed down to greet the group.
“Good afternoon, gentlemen. I’m Dr. Wright, can I help you?”
One of the young men stepped forward and extended his hand. “Welcome, Dr. Wright. My name is Dexter Lewis. I’m the Chairmen Bookkeeper of the Malcolm X Institute. Some of the members and I thought you might appreciate a little help getting your things unloaded. Our advisor, Dr. Kirk, told us you should be arriving about this time. We’re here to help.”
“Thank you, Gentleman. This was unexpected but most definitely appreciated. My wife and children aren’t due to arrive until tomorrow and with your help, it will be much easier to get our kids settled in when they arrive. Lets go take a look at the inside and see what cleaning needs to be done before we start unloading the furniture.”
Devon was further surprised when several of the young men produced buckets, brooms and other cleaning supplies from their nearby cars and trucks and followed him into the interior of the house. The first thing that hit them all was the smell. It was immediately evident that the house had not been opened in some time so the first order of business was to open up all the windows and air the place out.
Cleaning the 2-story 6 bedroom 5 bathroom home took the better part of three hours but the crew of 15 had the place spic and span. Devon had decided to reward his workers with some well earned pizza which they were now enjoying in the kitchen when the doorbell rang. He wiped his hands on his shirt and went to answer. Standing on his stoop was a group of about 25 people. Some faces he recognized as faculty members but many were unfamiliar to him. One face however was very familiar.
“Justin, what are you doing here, Man! I thought you weren’t due back from China for another two weeks!” Devon said, embracing his best friend and former college roommate in a strong hug.
“D, you had to know I’d be here to welcome you back to the W,” replied Justin Kirk. Entering the house he looked around as the group made it way toward the kitchen. “I see Part 1 of our Welcoming Committee did us proud. Well done, Gentlemen.” Justin watched his students stuffing their faces with pizza and knew that Devon had made some friends through this gesture. “When you finish stuffing your faces you can go take a break. I brought in a relief crew for you. I know some of you need to go get some rest for practice tomorrow or coach will have your hides.”
Many of the workers mumbled their agreement and Devon saw several stuff slices of pizza into a few boxes as makeshift take home trays before making their way to the exit. Devon and Justin gave each other a knowing look and shook their heads. Turning to their second shift of workers they gave a wave and summoned them to the back of the moving truck outside to start unloading furniture and Devon sent up a prayer of thanks to God for the amazing welcome thinking how surprised and pleased Claudia would be when she arrived the next day to a moved in house.