We’d been married all of 6 weeks, and we were settling into our first married apartment in Philadelphia. I’d been living in the apartment previously with a roommate, and friends of friends of friends had occupied it for the previous decade; it was an institution in the young Philadelphia Mormon world.
We’d finally managed to clear out most of the accumulated leftover lightbulbs and cleaning supplies (the remainder would stay in place until we ourselves moved out a year later). It had been a busy few weeks after returning from our honeymoon, so we decided to take the afternoon off and head down to Penn’s Landing for the Philadelphia ice cream festival.
We walked over and got our scoops in the summer sun, reveling in the warm breeze and pedestrian traffic. As we started back, though, ominous clouds began to drift. We quickened our step, hoping to get ahead of the wet.
No such luck, as the skies burst fully open when we were still a solid 15 minutes from home. This wasn’t any ordinary shower; it was a full-on deluge. Anyone who’s been in Philadelphia in a rainstorm knows the streets turn to rivers – rivers of muck and grease.
We decided to hibernate for a moment under one of Philly’s tiny residential awnings – a barely-covered patio barely wide enough for the both of us and certainly insufficiently deep. Still, it was better than anything else around and we huddled there, giggling in newly-espoused humor and bliss.
Suddenly, the door behind us swing open, nearly sending us flying onto our backs. We jumped away, concerned that a typically grizzly Philadelphian would chide us for daring to transfer human oils onto his house by way of our touch.
Rather, a kind couple saw our plight and offered us their large new umbrella, which, incidentally, provided at least double the coverage of the awning. They invited us in, but we declined, preferring to make a dash to home. A simple gesture, to be sure, but one to build friendships and bridges and trust.