THE GIFTS OF HONESTY AND HOSPITALITY
I never heard my parents utter a disparaging word about others...unless it was in a heated political discussion which my father loved to engage in. Everyone who came into our home was treated with the same warmth and hospitality, regardless of who they were; the banker who held our mortgage or the man helping my father on the farm received the same welcome in our home. There were no airs, no pretensions, and certainly no signs of either inferiority or superiority. Everyone gathered in the kitchen where they were always offered coffee or wine, and if the time was right, food, and I mean ALWAYS. We did have a front door that opened on to the sun porch and living room, but it was never used. Everyone knew to come to the back door and into the kitchen. On special gatherings we would move into the dining room, but for the most part it was the kitchen.
My parents made everyone feel welcomed and at home. I don’t know how many times I was told by friends visiting our home how wonderful my parents were and how they loved visiting them. They made people feel good! There are few things that disappoint me more than learning that someone I admire and respect has double standards in their treatment of and behavior towards people of different socio-economic status or positions. A true judge of character is the way someone treats the janitor, and not the CEO or chairman of the board.
I enjoy cooking, nothing fancy, just 101 ways to serve pasta. Even more, I love to share our meals with friends and neighbors. The evenings begin in the kitchen where we can comfortably seat 5 people around our island, and enjoy wine, cheese, and whatever else I can find in the pantry or refrigerator, while I prepare the dinner. More often than not we remain in the kitchen for the remainder of the meal. We can be more formal, and on some occasions we move our gathering to the dining room, but always the spirit is easy and light with no effort to impress anyone. Ok, I will admit that I try it impress our guest with the pasta. I love the food and wine, the conversation and the laughter, and I want our guests to feel good, to be glad that they are with us.
I know that through these experiences I am paying homage to my mother and father by sharing their gifts with others.
These are gifts that we can share with others simply by living them, and in this quiet living, make our world just a little bit better.