Scent of Hospitality

by Elouise


I used to think hospitality meant planning a big splashy event. Dinner to prepare or goodies to bake and have ready to go. With, of course, the scent of baked goodies or aromatic spices hanging in the air.

The house had to be sparkling clean in every corner. And smell clean, too! As for the hostess—that would be me—she, too, had to look and smell spiffy.

It isn’t that I’m not into social niceties anymore. It’s just that I’m older. Less energy. Less time to waste on dusting every nook and cranny. Or making sure the kitty litter isn’t fouling up the air.

If you drop by today I’m happy to make do with whatever’s in the cupboard, plus tea or coffee or water. All pretty cheap props in return for lively conversation with friends, neighbors or even strangers.

But now I’ve gone and done it. Decided to have a teeny tiny children’s tea for our neighbors and their young twins. A little boy and a little girl. You’d think I was totally out of my league, given my consternation about what to do.

I keep telling myself all I need to do is have some graham crackers, grapes and something to drink handy. Relax, Elouise. This isn’t a big deal—even though it is.

Still, though I’m a bit anxious, I can’t wait! I think our young guests will quickly set the agenda.

If things lag, there are at least a dozen mysterious boxes in our living room. Small, decorative boxes. Different shapes and sizes. Full of cheap trinkets I’ve picked up here and there. The kind of things young children love to discover.

And children’s books! Scores of them are here and there, waiting to be picked up. Maybe even read out loud.

Besides, my lovely piano stands ready for anyone to play. And then there’s Smudge, our people-friendly kitty. Or, should all else fail, D and I, in our second childhood!

Seriously, I had no idea how daunting this great idea of mine would feel. After decades of working with adults, and with our grandchildren now grownup teenagers, I’ve forgotten how easy it is to be with young children. Especially in our interesting and somewhat eccentric house.

In the larger picture of my life, getting started is always the most difficult part of all. From then on, it’s usually a great if not glorious adventure. The simple kind that puts all of life in perspective, no matter how bleak the weather or how grim the headlines.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 31 January 2017
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Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Scent