Friday, September 28, 2007

When Takashi Came A-Calling

Wednesday, when I was down with this cold, someone rang the doorbell. I almost didn't answer, knowing that the house wasn't "visitor-ready" and that I looked even worse than the house! But I did answer it, and it was my sweet neighbor, Lorraine, bringing me some fruit from her backyard trees.

Every now and then drop-in guests do come to the door, and (unless I'm sick) it's a wonderful surprise. The most surprising drop-in guest we had came on a Saturday, in the Spring of 1990.

I had gone to a funeral that morning; the wife of a work colleague had passed away. Dan had not been able to attend with me, because of some prior commitment. I can't remember where Chris was, but Tim, who was 14 years old at that time, was the only one home.

Returning home, I parked the car in the garage and came through the door that led into our family room. Tim met me at the door. "Takashi just called, and he wanted to talk with you," he said. Takashi had been back home in Japan, attending college, for nearly a year by then.

"Oh, that's too bad. I'm sorry I missed his call," I said.

"He was really mad that you weren't here," added Tim.

"Well, does he expect me to stay home all the time, just in case he might call?" I responded with a little irritation in my voice.

Just then, Takashi stepped around the corner. "Hi, Mom," he said, with a big grin on his face. He and Tim had cooked up this little surprise homecoming scene just for me.

Takashi had come all the way from Japan, to spend less than 36 hours in Oregon. During the last few weeks of his year as an exchange student, he had dated a girl named Jessie. And Takashi had just crossed the Pacific to take Jessie to her senior prom! From Japan, he had called a Newberg florist to order a corsage; and he had brought a tux with him. The prom was that night; and he would be departing from the Portland Airport, returning to Japan, on Sunday evening.

After lots of hugs and laughter, I asked "Why can't you stay a little longer?" I was sad to think that we'd hardly get to see him on this brief visit. It turned out to be quite a story. He had asked his parents, who lived in another city, if he could come to Oregon for the prom, and they had told him he could not, because his college grades were not so good. But Takashi was determined that he'd somehow scrape together the money (money was seldom an issue with Takashi) and go, with or without his parents' help or approval - or knowledge Smilies. He had originally planned to come several days before the prom, since that week was a school vacation in Japan. But the day before he was to leave, who should surprise him with a visit, but his mother! (Now, don't you suppose that this visit was strategically designed, by Mother, to keep Takashi from traveling to America?) So, frustrated, he endured her visit of several days and then, with all of his vacation gone, and only a weekend left to make the trip, Takashi rushed to the airport to catch a flight to Oregon.

He did, however, make the most of his 36 hours. He spent the afternoon visiting with us, and then got ready to take Jessie to the prom. Of course, it was late when he got home, and the rest of us were sound asleep. He didn't go to bed. Instead, he stayed up the rest of the night preparing a French cuisine meal that he planned to serve us for our Sunday noon meal. He had been working a part-time job in a restaurant in Japan, and was learning from the chef how to cook continental style meals. When morning came, he got cleaned up and dressed for church. It was a warm homecoming there, as well, for he had made many good friends at church, during the previous year. After worship we came home, and Takashi put the finishing touches on the delicious meal he had prepared for us. Late in the afternoon we drove him to the Portland airport, and sent him back home to Japan. He hadn't slept a wink since he arrived on Saturday morning.

That was the first of Takashi's visits. He came back a few years later, while we were still in Oregon, and then made a third visit while we were living in Juneau. He tells me he will come see us in New Mexico sometime. I hope he'll stay more than two days; I hope we'll have a little notice that he's coming; and I hope he still likes to cook!

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