Hospitality as defined by Merriam Webster, Noun: generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests.
The first thing I thought about when I started to type right now was; I’ve never attended nor had available to me a course on hospitality. I know there is a huge industry that calls itself “hospitality.” Cal Poly Pomona offers a major in hospitality supported by major restaurant and hotel sponsors and their graduates are in high demand, but somehow, the hospitality industry isn’t what most of us think about when we think of hospitality.
Hospitality is something you appreciate when you’re experiencing it, and miss when you aren’t even though the outward service might be the same. Similarly, the outward tangible signs in a village in the Himalayas might be different from a Parisian suburb, but the heart attitude of “welcome guest, please sit and enjoy our best” is identical.
Ag Leadership invested an hour or so in us on etiquette so we wouldn’t look like bumpkins if we ended-up in a fancy setting: Start with the outside fork, don’t start eating a course until the host or the oldest person at your table starts, a folded napkins means I’m coming back, a crumpled one means I’m done is what I remember. Mom taught us not to talk with our mouths full nor when adults were talking; Dad to open the door for ladies but that’s more courtesy.
So I think hospitality is more caught than taught so fortunate are we who have been properly mentored and that brings me to where I was goin’.
Southern hospitality has a lot of unwritten rules you would never break: Always invite a visitor up on the porch for some sweet tea, never take the last biscuit, and this applies to everyone, even if you don’t like ’em.
Kin are different. Kin go right in and get their own tea and sit at the kitchen table. They’re likely as not to bring a pie when they come and let me guarantee you, there will never be a biscuit shortage. To the contrary, if you didn’t eat until it hurt, the lady of the house would feel like she messed up the recipe.
Finally, when you leave, you will be loaded up with farm goods; eggs, fruit, vegetables from the garden…It would be unconscionably rude to be sent home empty, along with that biscuit recipe.
So until a couple weeks ago when a Glendora subscriber poked me for a comment for their AHO picnic, I had never written about an underlying motivation for this weekly service. Some of you will think this is really corny, others will think it disingenuous, but at this point of my life, what people think is less important than it used to be.
In my heart, I see you all as kin, there’s no other way to explain it. We would have family visit the farm and invariably say: “Oh how I wish there was some way we could get organic produce like this where we are.”
It’s why I go by Uncle Vern here and Vernon everywhere else. An uncle on the farm who gathers up the best of whatever’s growin’ this week, boxes it all up and sends it off to kin all over the state.
It’s why your host is called a host instead of community coordinator. A host makes you feel welcome.
“Tangibly sharing from a center of love’” could just as easily be our motto, but let’s just keep that a family secret and call it hospitality. EAT HEALTHY!!!