We had precious friends come to visit us yesterday and they left before lunch today. Here is the story. We lived in Virginia almost 2 years. My dad had just died and mom decided to move from Florida to Virginia where she had dad had once lived. Moms hip shattered and she fell. That is when we found out she had Lewy Body Dementia. One Sat. I felt lonely and was going back up the mountain to our house and I saw a handmade sign with Homemade Baked Good and decided to check it out. I was so thrilled to see it was a Mennonite family and from the moment we met we were friends. Their oldest 2 daughters sat with mom when we had doctors appointments for John and I made felt items to sell at their Market.
So when they called to say there were coming I was thrilled. Two of them are not living at home but the six kids that are would be here. We live in a single mobile home and so you may ask where would we put 8 people. Not a problem at all. You see I knew we could be ourselves, share what we have, cook what I can and they would be perfectly happy and grateful. Never in my life have I ever been around such energetic, well mannered and respectful kids.
We decided we would have what the kids would consider treats. We got 3 huge pizzas, I made a layer salad, a cornbread layer salad, we decided on ice cream cones and fun snacks. These are things they seldom get. The parents were here a bit over 2 years ago but I had not seen the kids. They piled in here with hugs and than "Can we explore the woods", "Where is the creek?", "can we see the fish?"(we do aquaponics in the greenhouse" and "Where is Miss Rachel?" (my mom). So off they went and they would run in and out and report what they saw.
Supper was fun and than it was games outside that John got them to take on to Florida. We had saved the ice cream cones for after dark and they piled in moms room to watch "Little House on the Prairie" and "The Walton's". They do not have TV and these are shows they can watch. Mom is 91 and she loved having them all in her small room. They waited on her and she ate that up.
Bed was sleeping bags on a big air mattress and mom and dad on the reclining chairs. Breakfast was a breakfast casserole, left over pizza and juice. We hated to see then go and asked them to come back and stay a week.
What makes a good guest to you. I would love to hear your comments......I think of several things. They are grateful and you know they are grateful for all your preparations. It is teaching your children ahead of time what is expected of them and what the consequences are if they disregard them. Have them help clean up after a meal or what they have pulled out. These are simple ideas but they mean a lot.
Did our friends do this....yes and much more.
We never heard a cross word or tattle. We never heard "I do not like that". They picked up their own dishes and washed them .....even the 6 year old boy. They offered to take out the garbage, offered me a seat when I came into the living room, they picked after themselves. They asked about what I was doing in my hand sewing and loved carrying on a adult conversation. You may want to know if this was put on behavior....No. They have been taught at home to do all of the above. I have been in their home so many times and yes they will be kids but never disrespectful to each other or any adults. They are homeschooled and part of the teaching is Christian Character Traits and they are taught to apply them. Our neighbor came over and she called me today to say she never has been around such well behaved kids and she could see they lived a simple, grateful and very happy life. We talked about how they love to romp and play outside. They are all talented and encouraged to use that talent. Life is a adventure to them and nobody owes them anything.
Do you see why they could be welcomed back for a week?
On our side I believe hospitality should be from the heart. They should not be pretense. You share what you have. You do not worry about what you have to do but rather you prepare ahead so you can make your friends feel special and spend time with them not frazzled or worn.
Our friends left us with a gift....a special one. They all gathered in our small living room and sang a song in 4 part harmony that simply said thank you for sharing your home with us. Here is a photo of that gift.