The year was 1958 as I recall and Wally’s orders were to the West. We’d bought a house in Norfolk, Virginia two years prior and had enjoyed living there. Lovely newish, yet traditional, brick houses built amidst a wooded park. Our house would easily sell, we thought. There was little to do but start packing.
Of course, the Marine Corps would keep Wally on the job right up to moving day. Then we would have 30 days to move out, drive across the country with three kids and a dog and get settled in a place we'd need to find before Wally would be reporting for duty. There were about six weeks before departure date but that would give us plenty of time to sell the house we figured. No need to list it with an agent. Surely people would rush to our door when they saw the FOR SALE BY OWNER sign on the front lawn. Not a good idea, I thought, to mess up the house with packing stuff until the buyers had signed on the dotted line.
Time went by quickly but hardly anyone stopped to look at the house, much less buy it. When we were down to two weeks before leaving I was worried. We might never be stationed in the East again so leaving it was not an option. Besides we’d need the money to put down on another house in California.
I’d finished sweeping the screened-in porch and fixed myself a sandwich for lunch. Hot tea with it would taste good. I sat down and my silent grace was not in thanks for food. It went something like this: “Dear Father, please send us a buyer soon!”
I pulled the tea bag out of the cup and read the fortune on the tag. It said, “Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.” Could that be God’s answer? I wondered. Did it mean I should get busy and start packing, not worry about the mess? I took it that way and after lunch I got out all the boxes and packing materials, then started working. Neither the house nor I were fit to be seen when the doorbell rang but the couple were charmed. We went to the escrow department of our bank, and the house was sold that very afternoon.
Have you ever noticed your reactions to the need to wait for someone else? I have, and then I remember the tea bag tag and find something to work on while I wait. It must be wrong to let another’s delay waste our own moments.
Katie has been getting ready to leave on our shopping trip for nearly an hour while I was ready to go. What did I do to fill the time? Did I fret, did I prod? Did I fiddle my thumbs? No, I "hustled" and wrote this piece. It brought back a host of good memories of just one of the many tours of duty with the United States Marine Corps. A pleasant hour it gave me. A good idea shared. And best of all, the wait was spared of any sense of irritability or anxiety. When Katie came out, looking like a million dollars, she said, “Ready to go, Grandma?” Yup, and we were out the door in seconds!