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Owen from Ohio

When we lived in Columbus Ohio on Main street, we met a man at our door one evening. He was clean, polite, and homeless. Owen did not want to intrude on our evening he explained. He was asking about can foods and if we had any to spare.  I thought about the many different stories of Jesus showing up in different forms asking for assistance from people looking forward to meeting him. I never hesitated asked him to have dinner with us. We had plenty of food on the table and assured him we were glad to have him at our table.

Owen was a dark-skinned man. I was never sure what he background was. I never asked him because it really did not matter. He was in need and our table was bountiful. My sons set him a plate and brought the spare chair to the table for him. We introduced each other around the table exchanged greetings and dug into dinner.

It felt good to help Owen. He had only asked for a few cans, but I could tell a hot meal was what he needed. When dinner was done, dessert and coffee finished Owen left with a box of can goods. Everyone felt good knowing we did what we could that day for someone we didn’t know and never met before. Owen would not say exactly where he lived, at first but it was okay we knew he was not living high on the hog.

Owen visited us several times over the next few weeks. We gave groceries, gloves,  hat, and some blankets. It was late October when we met him and as winter approached it was only getting colder. My son James gave Owen one of those outdoor work clothes that zipped from your neck to your ankle one day. We gave him a lantern and tried to give him a camping stove to cook on but he declined it. Own was thankful always and never asked for anything. We asked what he needed and assumed his lack for some things and provided what we could. We never expect anything and gave freely from our bounty.

2002 December 26th we had a house fire. A stranger stopped at our door and pounded on it until someone answered. He asked if our house always smoked like that. Then he vanished. Everyone made it out of the house even the goldfish. I got there and everyone was on the sidewalk safe and sound. It was heart-wrenching to watch the fireman shoveling stuff out of the third-floor window, but that was only junk I could buy again some other time. What was important was on the sidewalk safe.

Lucky for us we only suffered smoke and water damage.  We had to move anyway. The other side of the duplex was in bad shape. The fire had started on the third floor on that side of the building. Lucky for us our landlord owned more than one unit and we moved to another one on the other side of town. Owen helped us with our move loading the truck and unloading.  It was the last time I saw Owen. It was a great experience helping someone who appreciated everything we did for him.

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