Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Friendship isn't a big thing - it's a million little things. ~ Author Unknown
Once upon a time I used to think I wanted to do a lot of entertaining. And I did a fair amount for a few years.
Then Dear Hubby's work shifts became so impossibly early that we both got in the habit of going to bed around 7 pm so we could get up around 3 am to get him sent on his way. I had previously been a night owl most of my life but I came to realize if I ever wanted to see him I needed to adjust my hours to his. So I did. And, honestly, I've never minded. To me, the most peaceful hours of the day are those before daylight. The city we lived in had a quiet hush over it in the hours before its hellish commuter traffic began. I could hear train whistles moan in the distance. I heard the first bird song of the day. I enjoyed sitting at my computer drinking my coffee and blogging and gradually coming awake. I used to blog quite regularly back then.
Since we were going to bed around the time most people were sitting down to dinner, our entertaining time gradually disappeared. I never really missed it. I found it to be quite stressful and so did my family. I wanted the house to be perfect, the food to be perfect, Dear Hubby to be perfect, and the kids to be perfect. By the time company arrived I was almost too tired to enjoy it. And I have never been a comfortable chitter-chatter. It was always a relief to shut the door behind 'regular company' as they left at the end of the evening. Not that I didn't enjoy them. Not that I didn't love my friends. I'm just not what I term a 'traditional' woman. I have never been frilly and girly and 'into' things like fancy dishes and silver and linen on the table. At this stage in life if you come to dinner at my house, expect Stouffer's lasagna and paper towels taken off the roll on the wall to use as napkins. That's just the way it is here. Suits me and Dear Hubby just fine.
Do you know what kind of entertaining I enjoyed? Well, in years past my husband was involved in the Merchant Seamen ministry at our Portland church. This was prior to 9/11...before the terrorists attacked and changed America forever. We used to be able to go down to the docks along Portland's Willamette and Columbia rivers and freely move around on them, climbing on and off the huge ocean freighters inviting merchant seamen from all over the world to come to church. There were many who came. And often after church we'd invite them over to our house for coffee and refreshments...homemade cookies, pie, cake. Our children were exposed to these people who were from all over the world, and the visitors had the opportunity to come into a 'real' American home and see what a 'real' American family was like. They came from everywhere, from A to Z, from Argentina to Zanzibar. Many of them were away from their homelands and their families for months at a time and especially enjoyed interacting with our children. It was a real blessing to have them in our home.
Dear Hubby was also involved with another gentleman from our church in going down to the low-rent apartments and hotels along Portland's Skid Road and inviting people from there to church as well. Many came, and we opened our home to them too. Some were down-on-their luck. Some of them were lonely Seniors. Some were young kids backpacking across America. Students. A huge cross-section of humanity.
I don't know why, but I felt so much more 'at home' and comfortable with them. I loved having them come into our home. I put on the coffee pot and pulled out some goodies and we'd sit around and talk about where they came from, where they were headed. I have always had a voracious appetite for knowledge, and I found their stories fascinating. I was like a sponge, soaking it all up.
I guess I have entertaining on my mind because we have a very dear friend from Portland coming next week to spend a few days with us. I've been in the process this past week of getting our guest room set up and comfortable for her, tho she told us she'd be happy with an air bed on the floor. What makes it easy is she isn't 'regular company'. She's like family, and her visit is so happily anticipated. I won't have to 'put on the hog' for her. I can just....relax.