Normal Soap and Kitchen Graffiti

HOSPITABLE: given to generous and cordial reception of guests; offering a pleasant or sustaining environment; readily receptive

I’ve got an urban girl exterior with a gooey country girl filling.

I love cowboys.  You could put a cowboy hat on a troll and I would find it attractive.  I’m a sucker for old school country music.  Give me a sad song about a bad boyfriend or beloved bar stool and I’ll crank it up and croon along.  When we had cable, I watched more bull riding than sitcoms.  More than anything, I love country footwear.

So, when the Ellensburg Rodeo rolls around every Labor Day weekend, I feel a gravitational pull east toward a dirty oval filled with wrangler jeans and saucer sized belt buckles where cute boots are on every third set of feet.

Husband isn’t obsessed with cowboys or shoes, but he can’t quit me and kindly agrees to put some of our entertainment budget toward rodeo tickets every few years.

This was one of those years.  Which meant, it was time to call my aunt and ask if my family could invade her home.  It’s a strange thing to ask people for favors when you have nothing to offer in return.  To call a relative you only see twice a decade and ask for room and board is awkward.

I always have to talk myself into calling.

I always end up glad I called.

My aunt has the rare gift of true hospitality.  She doesn’t fall for any of the trappings marketers try to sell as hospitality, like weird shapes of soap in the guest bathroom.

She simply makes you feel welcome.  Truly and completely welcome.

When you enter her home, you don’t feel like a twice a decade guest.  You feel like a member of her family.

I’m pretty sure if we’d asked, she would have let us add our names to the wall in the kitchen where her kids, grandkids and friends have measured their growth for the past thirty years.

I want to be that kind of hostess.

I want people to enter my home and feel generously and cordially received.  I want them to relax in a pleasant and sustaining environment.

I’m not sure how you create that kind of home.

I know it has nothing to do with monogrammed towels, fancy china or weird shapes of soap.

Maybe it all starts with letting people draw on my kitchen wall…


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