Monday, June 02, 2008
Symphony of Friendship
The last tickets to the symphony this season, sitting there on the counter so we wouldn't drive off without them. My outfit hanging on the outside of the closet, ready to pull on. Then the phone rang.

When I saw it said 'Colorado' I almost didn't answer it because I was flying out of the house to show the camper to someone, and was running a bit late. I thought it was either a sales pitch or one of my brothers and I just didn't have time right that minute for either, but something in me decided to grab the phone.



"It's Wayne."

At first I thought he'd said 'Dwain' (my brother) but then realized it didn't sound quite right. Then I immediately began doing mental callestintics, did I even know a Wayne?

He heard the pause in my voice, then said 'Wayne and Betty'.

Don's best friend since kindergarten, and that's getting to be awhile - his eighty year old, widowed mother and her widower friend. Okay at least I know who it is. No idea on earth why they are calling, they've never called before.

'Hi Wayne.............."

"Hi, we're in Washington and thought we'd stop by."

"Washington DC?" (Hours away from us...)

'No, Washington, off I-70, I think we're just south of you."

"Why Wayne, yes you are just south of us, very close actually (and I'm proud to say I think I sounded completely normal here in spite of the fact that I was hyperventilating.) You're just TEN MINUTES from us."

So we chat for a minute and I realize they really are just down the road, and will be here, at our house, very shortly. In the meantime I'm running out of the house, jumping into our car, charging up the hill past our neighborhood. About six houses up, I realize I'm still talking on the house phone and we're going to lose reception any ole minute. So I told Wayne that I had oh so calmly, because I'm not the least bit flustered that they are going to be at my house in nothing flat, but I've taken the land phone and we're going to lose reception, so could you please take a potty stop and maybe get a coke, and sit right there and I'll phone you right back after I run out and show the camper to this nice couple, praying they don't ask me anything technical about it. Wayne said, sure, no problem. We'll just wait here.

Oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh......!!!!!

I phone my husband and tell him in the nicest, most submissive way possible to get his hiney home because his best friend from kindergarten's mother and her friend are about to be at our house to be entertained and I have no idea what on earth to talk to them about to keep them happy for an hour and a half til he normally gets home, because I barely know them, so come home please, ASAP!

I show the camper, call Wayne and Betty back, they are now five minutes from my house waiting for final directions. I run home, lock up all the dogs, fly through the house, check the bedrooms, the potty and clear off the kitchen counter, and sure enough they pull in the driveway. They'd apparently been on a month long road trip and we were the second to last stop, and much like my own father would do, even though they'd considered coming to see us THREE WEEKS AGO at the beginning of this trip, it didn't really occur to them to call us say a day or two ahead. I really think if they had been able to find the way to our house, they would have just pulled in.

So we adjusted. The weekend plans had obviously shifted, I quietly threw the symphony tickets in the trash when they weren't looking, poured some iced tea, sat down and asked them about their trip.

No food in the house to really speak of, so we took them to Bob Evans, picked up a pie on the way out, came home and visited with them til late in the night, then got them situated in the yellow room. They slept 9 1/2 hours, and at 76 and 80 years old if I'd been on the road for three weeks straight I might not have gotten up at all. When they came down the next morning I'd managed to whip up some chocolate chip pancakes and thank the Lord there was a canteloupe in the fruit drawer, fresh coffee and a smile. We sat and lingered over breakfast, watching the 'red birds' as they call them, come to the feeder off the deck.

They pulled out mid-afternoon, ready for the next stop that they hadn't called ahead for. I imagine that niece heard from them about ten to fifteen minutes before they hit the edge of St. Louis and I hope she, too, was able to just close her calendar and enjoy an impromptu visit.

The house wasn't perfect, I didn't cook much of anything, but the sheets were clean, the pillows were plump, I know they got a good night's sleep, and when they drove off and she gave me a big bearhug, it held more music than any night at the symphony ever could. I don't expect they will ever be at our home again, but they'll go home and tell Don's best friend that they enjoyed being with us, and years from now they won't remember the strawberry pie, with mounds of whipped cream, nor the semi-dirty kitchen floor. They'll just remember they felt welcome, and were rested the next morning when they pulled out.

If you're, like me, stretched to entertain, I've been mightly encouraged by this woman's blog, 4 Reluctant Entertainers, that it's not about the house or the table or even the food - it's always, always about the symphony of friendship.

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  posted at 7:58 AM

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    Girl Raised in the South

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