You are welcome here
Be at peace
Get up when you're ready
Go to bed when you please
You don't have to thank us
Or laugh at our jokes
Sit deep and come often
You're one of the folks
I found that poem on the front of a guest book in the drawer at Camp. Camp Belle is the lakeside summer cottage my great-grandfather built on Square Pond in Shapleigh, Maine. The guest book listed guests from 1942-1983, usually in my grandmother's handwriting. I can picture it. She would enjoy her guests so much, she'd never think of the guest book until some time when there were no guests, and then she'd sit and list them. Guests were her joy, and she really did live like the poem because I was one of her frequent guests. And she listed me! From the time I was a little squirt, all the way through 1983 when the book ended, and I was a about to enter my senior year of high school, I'm on the list. She didn't just lump "grandchildren", it's like she savored the memory of having each of us.
I'm feeling really challenged by this. For me, one of the best parts of Evangel's wedding was the sleepover guests at that same Camp Belle. We had up to 8 people staying over with four or five of us Youngs. It was so cozy with the wood stove for heat, and the leaves turning colors all around us. At times it was really cold out, and I was so thankful that wood stove did the job. Paul was our fire starter and maintainer as long as he was there, and we varied between "warm enough" and "let's open the windows". When he had to leave on the Sunday after the wedding, our fire faltered a bit.
The four teens acted a lot like my cousins and I did when we were teens. They played loads of board games, went for canoe rides, hikes and bike rides, and read books. I loved watching them unknowingly re-living my teen years and awakening some sweet memories.
But I did get stressed in all this. Grammy never did, unless we did something wrong. But for something to be wrong, we had to actually be mean or destructive. She really did let us stay up as long as we wanted to, and sleep as late as we wanted. (admittedly not healthy for everyday life, but wonderful for teens wanting a bit of freedom) She wasn't picky about manners, and she definitely "sat deep". So I was evaluating what the difference was between us. I did anticipate our guests, and enjoy them very much, but I missed the "peace" part sometimes. How did Grammy stay so peaceful when there were mobs of us around, with our friends too, and our pets? For one thing, she didn't play "entertainment committee". She just let us be. I could have done more of that. I was so scared they wouldn't see everything or do everything or would feel neglected. When we moaned of boredom, Grammy would suggest a swim, or a walk or a book, but she didn't start planning trips to Boston to entertain or anything like that.
I'm so thankful for my heritage, the good family I come from. Grammy's been gone for 19 years now, but I tend to smile when I think of her. She's associated with lots of happy memories. I'm hoping, praying, and planning to grow in my hostessing to be more at peace when we have our beloved visitors. "A gracious woman retains honor." That's my goal, to be gracious.