Webster says “the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way” is how to describe the word hospitality. I tend to think of it as making visitors feel like they belong. This isn’t an easy task. I’ve been on the receiving end of some poor hospitality. Have you ever had one of those visits where you just feel like you’re a bother? As if the people hosting you clearly preferred you weren’t there?
Basically, think of that famous scene in Pretty Woman when Julia Roberts walks into the store, armed with cash and ready to shop, but the staff looks down on her and suggests she shop elsewhere. Well I have experienced that kind of hospitality (in-stores and at-homes) and it’s not fun.
Growing up my grandmother, her sister and my mom amazed me with how generous, warm and yes…hospitable they were. Paraphrasing my grandmother’s eulogy, there was always another seat to be had at the table, another glass that could be filled and more rice to be spared. That’s just the way things were and still are, in my family. I’d probably also add, there’s always a floor, bed or couch to sleep on/in and someone to pick you up from the airport. Again, that’s just the way my family does things.
This past July 4th weekend I was given a taste of hospitality that was wonderfully reminiscent of my own family. From the get go I just had a feeling these were “good people” as my dad sometimes says. They offered to pick up and drop off from the airport, asked what I’d like to drink ahead of the trip (lots of pepsi in the fridge!), took me for a tour of the island, provided keys to the house as needed and access to their bikes, took an interest in my interests and even let a friend of mine “crash” the party at the last minute.
That’s all well and good. It makes for a nice list. But, the true testament for how wonderful the hospitality was, is how I felt throughout the weekend. It simply felt like I fit. That’s a hard feeling to create. I’m so thankful to have met these wonderful people.
I know it sounds like I’m gushing and this is a little over the top. But, if you had been here in Ocean City at this house, with these people, you’d be doing the same. Creating a sense of hospitality is not easy. Retailers like Tiffany’s and Barney’s have mastered this art. And, so have these people. I can’t wait to come back.