Palabras Pintorescas - Cramming a visit into a day in proper fashion

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By Editha Bartley

A recent advice column that I read in some publication (I read all sorts of stuff!) addresses the proper way one is supposed to be and do as an overnight houseguest.

The writer of that column may have had my very recent houseguests as her models when she wrote the column.

My guests were on a limited schedule so we had to cram a lot into a small 24- hour time period. They are my big boss Jim’s cousins from Missouri, and they are experts on our family history. We have all had to realize that we best share and write down the family history we know, because we are the “last of the line,” so to speak.

I have plenty of ammunition for the history guns we need to shoot.

None, not one of my family members, ever threw away an old photograph, but sadly, so many of these old pictures have neither a name, place or date written on them, and these are the three most important items every photograph needs.

Luckily for us, the afternoon they came was cold and rainy, so we didn’t miss bumming around outdoors. That translates into my now having many questions answered and yet another page or two of history written down for the next generation, should they ever want to carry on the family history.

The Bartley family tree is fairly complete, I’ve learned, and a fun fact that we already knew, but still impresses our many kids is that they are directly related to Daniel Boone, and a grandfather several generations back worked for and was a friend of George Washington. We first heard this when they were in high school, and suddenly history became an interesting subject for them. They also have some Cherokee blood coursing through their veins, but not enough to get scholarships. I constantly continue to remind all and every young person I meet to record their family history. They will be surprised with what they learn!

Meanwhile, back to the original. I have two bedrooms and a bath that is used only occasionally upstairs. I keep clean sheets on the beds and fresh towels in the bathroom, but dust and dead flies are a normal part of this house. My German grandmother would clean the whole house from top to bottom every week. I had to help with this chore when I was a kid (during the summer when she stayed with us) and I thought it was a complete waste of time. And I still do, so yes, there will be dust and dead flies scattered around. Luckily my house guests know I’m not a very good housekeeper, and they don’t mind this minor inconvenience, thankfully.

The columnist says one should leave the place better and tidier than one found it. Well, they sure did. She said one should put errant dishes in the dishwasher (Betty had that done before I could even think about it.)

She also said to adhere to one’s host’s schedule (no loud music late at night) and you should let your host know when you are leaving. Being in the guest ranch business for many years almost makes me an expert on proper guest manners. I have encountered so many, many different types of guests. An occasional guest wanted no maid service whatsoever, and then some wanted 5- Star hotel treatment daily.

Thankfully, all of our kids learned at an early age that entertaining can be fun, and the best hosts don’t interfere with a guest’s plans or itinerary.

And, dust and a few dead flies are just a part of living on a busy ranch.

My grandmother might not agree, but she isn’t here to argue with me about this (I would never, ever argue with her, anyhow.)

Editha Bartley  lives in Gascon in Mora County. She may be reached at 454-0563.