The Holidays Are Looming

Are houseguests on your horizon?

November-December 2019

Ah, houseguests. We are happy to see them arrive. And we are happy to see them go.

Houseguests take a lot of prep work. Every room must be vacuumed and dusted and as artfully arranged as your abilities allow. Certain things must be tucked away. Other things, like your nicest towels, must be brought out.

There is much that must be loaded in — lots of groceries, including special treats; lots of whatever the guests might drink, be it water, sodas or something stronger. With some houseguests, the “something stronger” is a careful exercise. I have one girlfriend for who, when she was coming, I loaded up every bottle of liquor and wine that I had (not that I’ve got a big supply, but it looks attractive on the bar) and took it to another friend for safekeeping. Yet still, one night I saw the guest guzzling a hefty glass of cooking sherry. It must have been sitting in my kitchen cabinet for three years. Who knew? She is no longer welcome, but that’s another story.

Back to those houseguests who may still be welcome. Special treats must be whipped up or baked. Supposedly fun activities must be planned. As I said, houseguests are a lot of work. And a lot of stress, especially if you’re used to living blissfully alone.

I like to live my life as quietly as possible. Silence is truly golden.

I have very few houseguests. And never more than one at a time. I have purposefully arranged my living quarters so that I have no guest room. The house has three or four bedrooms, but only one is set aside for that specific purpose. And, it’s mine!

This past week, I had an old girlfriend (no, not that one!) coming to visit. I love this friend. We’ve been at it for some 30 years. “Gee,” I blurted, “I wish I had a guest bed.”

“No problem,” she replied on the phone. “I’ll bring a blow-up bed.”

Well. I did indeed have space for an inflatable bed, what with all those repurposed bedrooms. And, I knew this houseguest would be the best I could hope for.

Turns out, she is the Most Thoughtful Houseguest Ever. I bestowed that honor upon her the morning she was leaving.

Before her arrival, I had fretted about such things as pillows, sheets, towels and, oh yes, a blanket. I realized I have but one blanket. I called a friend to borrow one. Turns out, she had no spare blanket, either.

My guest began hauling in her travel trousseau. “I’m afraid I don’t have an extra blanket,” I said. “No problem; I brought my own.” Sure enough, she had the blow-up bed, a flannel sheet, her own pillows and not one, but two blankets!

“I put some guest towels in this bathroom,” I mentioned. “Oh,” she said, “I brought my own towels.”

See what I mean?

“I’m afraid I don’t have any liquor or wine,” I confessed. “Should we get some champagne?” Champagne used to be our drink of choice. She replied, “I don’t drink anymore. It gives me a headache.” Oh, joy! The cooking wine was safe! We drank water, which I have plenty of.

Turns out, we didn’t need anything stronger than water to spend the evening laughing out loud at our pasts and presents. She took me to Lewisburg for a lavish lunch; for “dinner,” I served ice cream and we ate in our pajamas. We were perfectly satisfied and happy. Then, she treated me to breakfast before she left the next morning.

The blow-up bed was rather impressive. But it, and her assorted accoutrements, filled my dining room. You could barely inch your way through there. In the morning, before I could finish making the cappuccino, she had loaded everything up and put it in her car.

Wow! Most thoughtful houseguest ever. Hope your holiday houseguests are the same!

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