Mr. Bill and Miz Mona

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Company's coming

Miss Mona sez:

What do you do when you know guests are coming? Are you the sort that has the house clean and menus planned days, even weeks in advance? Devoted to Martha Stewart, every single thing is arranged and coordinated, from flowers to linens to toilet paper with nifty little guest towels and mints on the pillow? Or are you of the pizza and paper plates, kick the dog off the couch and sit down persuasion?

Most of us land somewhere in between, like me. I would love to have guest towels, or, for that matter, a guest room, and cute little special things to decorate and bless with. Not happening, but it sounds like fun.
I was always fascinated by the magazine pictures of dinners with tablecloths and matching china for holidays. Special, themed dishes and decorations for different holidays, prettily-dressed guests and luminaries hanging from trees...

My family got together regularly for holidays and birthdays, but we certainly didn't have matching dishes and a long table with gleaming crystal and china. No paper plates, either- those cost money. Everybody brought plates and silverware, meals were always potluck and the kids sat on the floor. 40 or 50 people were the norm in Mom and Dad's 800 or 900 square foot house on Wilhoit Rd. People perched wherever and however and a wonderful time was had by all. Mostly.

My family is large, I am the youngest of nine, and diverse. Mostly "blue collar" as they say and low income. I grew up with the idea that if you want something, you need to work for it. That hospitality is a duty as well as blessing and that family is family, no matter what. Some of these concepts led me into some hard and dangerous places, not because they were wrong or bad, but because not everyone I met believed the same way I had been taught. Eventually I ended up in the Air Force (I wanted the Marines but they didn't care for female recruits with a GED) and they sent me to Alaska. That was over 30 years ago.

Married a great guy, also a Vet, built a blended family and started being hospitable.

There are a lot of stories between Wilhoit Rd and Moose Pass, some funny, some sad and a whole bunch that land somewhere in between. My kids grew up thinking it was normal to find someone sleeping on the couch. Some of them grew up to have people on their couch.
Why do we do it? Simple answer- because we have a couch. And a roof. And not everybody else does all the time. Complicated answer- because there were times when I didn't know where I would sleep that night. Because my husband spent too many nights in a jungle or a patrol car. Because life is complicated and everybody needs a little help now and then.

Helping people in this way is not a requirement and for some people, not an option. That's okay! I am not trying to send you on a guilt trip or something. But I do hope I have made you think about this. That hospitality does not have to mean guest rooms and matching sheets. A sleeping bag and a mat on the floor can be a real blessing sometimes. But be warned- it will stretch and challenge you and maybe, just maybe, you will become addicted.

Have a great day!!

Loving you-

1 comment:

  1. Yes...What is normal to some just does not occur to others. This was the reality that we were raised in. Dad was the southern Gentleman in his home..You were always welcome. He might not ever go to anything outside of his comefort zone however. Love reading your memories and observations. Sally