the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.


At the end of that definition I would add, “as if they were family”. To me, hospitality means giving of my best, whatever that may be, freely and without any expectation of reward or special recognition. This is something we do every day, without a thought, with members of our household, our family. It is a habit formed by the way we live. It’s the little unconscious acts of generosity that we bestow upon those we love that form our ability to receive, to generously receive.

When I think of hospitality, the image of the Cornucopia, the horn of plenty, springs to mind. The Cornucopia sets the tone of my Thanksgiving table.

Traditions want symbols and Thanksgiving, the celebration of harvest and abundance,  the  never ending nurture that is Life, begins with this simple form…a basket, the Cornucopia. The shape of the Cornucopia is ridiculously wrong…for a basket. Baskets are designed for holding, carrying, storing. It is impossible for a true Cornucopia to hold anything. Everything just spills out in all directions. A cornucopia as a centerpiece cannot be called “an arrangement”.  Like Family, the Cornucopia defies arrangement, it’s just a simple, natural outpouring of love.

Laundry Day at the West Ranch

Laundry Day at the West Ranch

Tired of trying to get all the gravy stains out of your Thanksgiving tablecloth?
Instead of removing them, make them a feature!

A West Family Tradition

  • Buy a good, but not overly expensive, plain white cotton tablecloth, make sure it has a reasonable thickness and not treated with any stain repelling chemicals.
  • Set your holiday table as usual, but with each place setting include a permanent marker, like a Sharpie.
  • During the course of the meal, guests are encouraged to scribble relevant notes about the meal, fellow diners, the weather…whatever.   Each inscription should include the year and the authors initials. For example: Mom outdid herself this year! TW 2013

Even the toddlers can participate with a traced hand print, embellished by them…a treasure for a budding Picasso in years to come.

Gravy stains? Rejoice! Identified by dish of origin and contributor, they instantly become great conversation starters when the fabled tablecloth is reviewed at next years meal.

The tablecloth can be washed and stored as usual, and always brings a smile when unpacked on Thanksgiving.

With the holidays upon us, be sure not to miss any of Graeagle’s Holiday Family Traditions. Check the event schedule at Play Graeagle. And don’t forget, the best place to take it all in is on My Front Porch. Be sure to drop by and say hello.

Until then

To all friends, family and regular visitors to Leah’s Front Porch

Leah, Dan, Lindsay, Mallory and Trey

Hey, hey…HEY!!!

Oops, sorry fella, didn’t mean to leave you out…And of course the star of the show (but never the main course)…



One thought on “Hospitality

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s