The original Latin ancestor of “hospitality” referred to both host and guest. Our French cousin (cognate), I understand (please tell me if I am wrong,) still includes both. Recently, I read an inspiring description of “hospitality.” First, however, I would like to thank my most recent hosts for their kind and generous hospitality (in chronological order from most recent). Thank you to:
1 – the Amtrak train conductor who performed his task with a warm smile, conducting more than a mere ticket scanning operation;
2 – Christine ______, a hard-working educator/ interpreter/community member who missed much of my workshop in Syracuse, yesterday, and asked me to breakfast to discuss our respective projects. She graciously shared of herself, bought me breakfast and took me to the train station;
3 – Wendy, an innkeeper extraordinaire, who spoiled me with warmth, attention, beauty (a happy CROWD of African violets greeting me in many colors for breakfast, for example ), comfort, two needed long nights of sleep, well-presented (more beauty) homemade, nutritious and plentiful food, and the stories of her vicarious travels via her guests;
4 – Wendy, again, for being so hospitable, she reminded me of my recent inspiration and gets credit for this blog post idea;
5 – Caroline, Robert and Catherine, who invited and took me to an entertaining, nutritious and over abundant dinner (will also be my lunch on the train), and shared their stories and one night of their lives with me. I learned much about Syracuse, rural area nearby where they grew up, and all the horrid train accidents in the country, many caused from negligence. Thank you, Robert, for increasing my gratitude for every train I am on that is also carrying a responsible and vigilant crew working to arrive safely at our next stop. I am now celebrating my many, many safe train trips;
6 – Caroline, again, for taking me to my temporary home at Wendy’s Wellington Bed and Breakfast, allowing me to use the cab fare to buy another book/DVD set for the next teacher or parent;
7 – Tina G.’s generous gift to support Signs of Literacy. All gifts help me to continue to continue to go where ever I am invited to share whatever support I can give as a gift to teachers, schools, parents or community projects without money having to be the driving force or play more than a minor role in transactions. All gifts go to the two projects of Trillium, a 501c3, emphasizing community building through sharing our stories to support each other to grow, educationally, and in hospitality (description soon to come); [If you would like to support Signs of Literacy and/or Signs of Life, push that "donation" button on the left or send a check to 1442A Walnut St. #139, Berkeley, Ca 94709 or write me - susan (at) susanschaller.com - to contribute as a guest blogger or set up a living room or community event];
8 – Tina G., again, for beginning the conversation, leading to the invitation;
9 – Tina G., Lisa, Kim, Caroline, Chris, Lyndsi, et al. who participated in the Solvay High School Teacher Training, introducing me to a dedicated and perseverant team who know what teaching and community building is all about. I know they taught me; I hoped I gave them something;
10 – Barbara B. who officially invited me, and helped organize the event;
11- Amtrak, my new host and “landlord” and office. I gave up my room in Berkeley (fear not, my postal address above will forward your gifts to help continue renting my “office” and connection to the next invitation, if you prefer giving by check over supporting pay pal). Simplifying my life and exercising frugality allows me to stretch dollars and emphasize community building over individual unhealthy consumerism;
12 – the countless persons who have helped me along the way and gave me strength and inspiration to launch myself on this journey without a visible end, and the practice of the gift economy; thank you all, even though I cannot name you all here;
13 – the CoS, Conspiracy of Sharing, who gave me the chance to practice and benefit from the gift and sharing economy, laughter and hugs, support, ideas, exploration and courage, for putting up with me and my weaknesses, and especially, for inviting an old lady into their very young community – my gratitude runneth over; [Long live the CoS !] and,
14 – honorable mention to my first two post-CoS hosts – Linda of Omaha, and Stephen the Brave of Evanston;
Thank you, everyone, for your generosity, and being the tremendous examples of hospitality, which has been described as (trumpets and drums and hand-waving. please):
The creation of an empty and safe place where we can explore our gifts to share.
May we all grow in our hospitality, whether guest or host, whether on a train, bus or traveling through our day, and thereby grow more into who we are meant to be.
And, a final note of appreciation to anyone who read this far, and ahead of time for any who comment or write me via this web site, and/or invite me to their living room for a screening of A Man Without Words or The Boy Who Cried Wolf (I must write my unfinished “Goldilocks” book to get my “ying- yang” balanced).
Let me know your thoughts, suggestions, ideas and feedback (including typos or inaccuracies).
For more hospitality and sharing stories,