Home is where the hospitality is

 

by Mary Jo David

My husband and I moved into our first home, in Detroit, when our oldest child was an infant. Shortly thereafter, a newer neighbor moved in next door. We quickly discovered I had a working hand mixer with a missing beater and she had a broken hand mixer but two working beaters. For about a year, that was a match made in heaven!  Finally, one of us bought a new mixer, the other got all the working parts of the old mixer, and we’ve remained fast friends ever since.

Later, my husband and I changed things up and moved to a suburban subdivision. Recently I asked our now grown children about some of their fondest memories of growing up there. They all recalled the ten-year-old neighbor, “John,” who showed up on our doorstep with a pizza for our first day in the new house. His mother later told me that John used his paper route money to get us that “Welcome Pizza”—and we’ve never forgotten it.

Fast forward to our recent move to Gregory—our empty-nest home. It took us months to officially move in as we prepared our old home to put on the market after we closed on our new home. When he had days off work, my husband spent time in Gregory learning the ins and outs of country life. It seemed as if every time he’d come home from the new house he’d have stories about friendly new people he’d met. One day, while he was in Gregory, I phoned him to ask a quick question, and he told me he’d have to phone me back. He was enjoying a roast beef dinner with our new next-door neighbors!

That did it! It was time for me to get to know some of our new neighbors too. So while our old house was on the market, we decided to make the move out to Gregory. That meant roughing it a bit since we wanted to show the old house with our furniture in it until it sold. In the meantime, our new house consisted of a card table and chairs in the living room and four patio chairs in a screen room.

They would not take money for it, and instead said it was their way of welcoming us to the neighborhood. We felt very welcome, indeed, and the chair held a place of honor in our empty living room, right next to a cardboard-box end table. Photo by Mary Jo David

News travels fast in the country! One day, while we were finishing supper, we heard, “Hello? Is anyone home?” With that, a very pleasant woman appeared in our screen room and said, “Do you guys want a chair?” I was caught a bit off guard and a tad embarrassed thinking people thought we had no furniture.

But she quickly explained that my husband had attended her late Mother’s estate sale where he mentioned, conversationally, we were temporarily doing without some of the comforts of home. The estate sale finished and her mom’s upholstered swivel rocker had not sold. They would not take money for it, and instead said it was their way of welcoming us to the neighborhood.

We felt very welcome, indeed, and the chair held a place of honor in our empty living room, right next to a cardboard-box end table! When our old house sold, our own furniture was moved to our Gregory home, and the “hospitality chair” was passed along to a young couple with a new baby that needed rocking.

Looking back, our first two moves forged strong friendships, and this third, and hopefully last move, is on course to do the same. Thank you to all who have been so welcoming—you know who you are!

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