I knew that there would be a perfect day to do this post.There were tufts of dog hair lining the floor and the stainless steel fridge door looked decidedly worse for wear. During a quick visit and house tour my friend leaned forward to examine the quilted table runner, her hand gently moving the dust around on the table. She didn’t focus on the dust and neither did I. We are both in our 50’s and know that there are much more important things in life. I made a mental note to clean up the cob web in the window frame when they left but heck if I can remember which window it was in. This is scruffy hospitality apparently; something I have been practising for years and didn’t even realize it.
So here in this post is the idea that Scruffy Creates Room for Friendship. We have been known to create menus and put on a very substantial spread. We do try to focus on local food and home grown or picked were possible but we also might take out frozen left over turkey and turn it into a pot pie. One dish served family style and usually without a salad. Our pizza nights include making your own and perhaps we might even phone and ask you to stop at the store for us on the way out. Guests have been known to tote home our recycling or our garbage as well. No one remembers exactly what you serve but they do remember that it was an enjoyable evening; one in which catching up and stories played feature roles.
Those who have visited in person will say “but your house is so neat” you aren’t scruffy. That concern is addressed here at In Praise of Scruffy. We are both naturally tidy people and our world feels better if the dishes are done. Now I might ask you to do them and guests at our house often pitch in to finish peeling potatoes or make the gravy (we will even serve it if you drop the salt shaker in it!)
There are of course two sides to every story and here is the other side in a post called Can Hospitality Be Too Scruffy? Like most of life it is a balancing act and I feel that this post hits the nail on the head in regards to basics. You want to provide a gracious homey environment without becoming driven about the fact that the shoes are strewn in all corners of the porch or that your guests don’t make the bed daily. For us it’s much more important that you stop in to visit or even better yet stay the night.
Someday we’ll have a real patio and the excess wood will be burnt. Maybe the construction zone will taper off. But we can’t wait for it to be perfect — scruffy hospitality at its best! Beers cold, food is tasty and friendship is always valued. Stop on by if you are in this neck of the woods ever.
Bernie and Ron
PS I will wager that our friends also didn’t notice all the weeds in the circular garden but they did enjoy the view. Perception and perspective.