Last night they were everywhere. On the couch, the chairs, the sofa bed, in the upstairs bedrooms, even in the basement.
But this was no heinous infestation. It was was 20 California college students (my daughter included) who had traveled east to spend the first week of their winter break cleaning out houses in Atlantic City which were severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy. When they arrived late in the night exhausted from their labors, piling suitcases and shoes wherever, they pretty quickly found their spots, curled up in sleeping bags and went to sleep.
They had spend the past few days pulling up ruined flooring and rotted wallboard, stacking mountains of rubbish at curbs and going back for more, while grateful homeowners and supervising AmeriCorp people directed the action.
This morning, when I came downstairs, most of them were just rising, sweetly sleepy and tousled. A bagel run was made and a large pot of coffee brewed. My two dogs were in heaven for all the attention and petting they got! I listened to their stories -- from their week in New Jersey to stories about their families, their pets and their passions.
None of them had ever been to New York and they were excited to spend their last day -- today -- sightseeing in Manhattan, guided by their savvy native guide (my daughter).
And then, just as quickly as they had come, they were gone. Off to trek the Big Apple. Off to home and hearth and holiday. Off to save the world.