Quickly he turned and descended the rickety porch steps to wander on foot around the town. His eyes were filled with tears. As he left the house, he noticed an old man next door tending his garden. The old gentleman was on his knees, stooped over cultivating his lettuce. As Jeff looked at him, he thought he recognized his neighbor, Mr. Whiting, much older now with the same kind of rugged face.

“Mister Whiting?” he asked.

The old man slowly and quizzing looked up and said, “Do I know you? You look familiar.”

Jeff continued, “I’m Jeff Miller. I used to live next door.

Mr. Whiting replied, “Jeff Miller. I know you. You were just a little squirt. Your parents were wonderful. Do you remember the time you threw the rock through our front plate glass window? We were mad at you at the time. Time heals, doesn’t it?”

Jeff asked about his wife, Patty.

The old man replied his wife died a few years ago. “I miss her so much,” he said. “She was a wonderful spouse. Now, I just enjoy my house and garden. Where have you been all these years?”

Jeff explained, “I enlisted in the Navy right after college and served 30 years. Now I’m retired and looking for a place to settle down… no parents, they died several years ago, as you know, no relatives, wife or friends.”

“It’s good to see you again, Jeff,” said Mr. Whiting.

“Nice to visit with you also. I’m just going to wander through town and check what has changed over the years, goodbye.”

As he slowly wandered the streets, he noticed many new buildings. “Wow,” he thought, “they built a new theater. It’s super. And where did the old hardware store go? The little grocery store is now a large supermarket. I don’t remember the ice cream shop and the new gas station over there brightens things up. Littletown is quite the place,” he thought again.

Jeff headed back to his car waving to Mr. Whiting. He had found the small town he so desired. He could buy the old homestead and fix it up and live there and be of assistance to Mr. Whiting.

And with that decision, he had a lift in his walk and a smile on his face.