House guests

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 3, 2008

You’d think as hard as it is to get housing, they would have at least given me a little notice.

But no sir, they just showed up one day.

I guess word got around that I had a few houses with no occupants, and they just took for granted that I’d be interested. So here they are, snooping around, checking the outside and peering inside, generally keeping to themselves.

I really couldn’t say a lot, for I’d been taught early on to always be gracious and welcoming, even to strangers.

It was obvious they had traveled from a long distance, for they looked (just between you and me) somewhat disheveled.

And they didn’t talk like us, so I knew they were not from this area. They conversed just among themselves, chattering about this and that. I tried to keep my distance, but it was difficult, for I was curious as to their comments about my house.

Well, as soon as they had looked at one of my houses, they traveled to the other. They checked the windows and the doors and the roof. They considered the location and the neighborhood.

But it wasn’t long before I realized what was probably most important to them. I had thought beforehand it might be the color of the house or the type siding or the general appearance. But all that was secondary to what they were really looking for — a good place to raise a family. And after watching them, I understood. They were a close-knit group that (just between you and me) could care less whether I was a part of their circle of friends.

Then again, some folks are like that. I have always attributed it to how they were raised or the area from which they came.

Well, me looking for tenants and all, I kept my sentiments to myself and just let them do their thing. They left that evening and I thought that would be it. But to my surprise, they showed up the next morning and brought some of their friends with them.

And you won’t believe what happened next. They started moving in.

Right into one of my houses. Right on my property. We never discussed rental terms or a contract or anything. They just moved right in as if they owned the place.

Well, I started looking into the law and eviction procedures and the like and found out how hard it is to remove occupants from tenant houses and the long legal process it involved. I also noticed how happy they seemed to be and how much they enjoyed the place.

And so, not wanting to cause a conflict or anything, I came to the conclusion that I’d just as soon let them stay there.

Besides, I’ve always enjoyed Purple Martins.

Rex alphin is a farmer, businessman and contributing columnist for The Tidewater News. His e-mail address is