My Italian grandmother, Liza, was born in an Italian village near Modena. It is called Ospitale. The name means It accommodates them — hospitality. Perhaps her origins had something to do with how a saloon came to be her work and . . . later that of her two sons.
Hospitality . . . my grandmother knew what it meant. Though she never had but a few words of English when I visited her as a child, even in my youngest years, we always communicated with out frustration. Most of what she said was with her smile, her eyes, the tone of her voice, and her facial expressions. The memory of us spending time making surprised faces at each other still delights me and is the first that comes to mind when I think of sitting at her dining room table.
Her dining room table. We sat at her dining room table. Folks in the Illinois village of Italian immigrants, where she lived in my lifetime, enjoyed it at her tavern there. She welcomed everyone there as she welcomed folks into her home, by making room for them. I could see it in her smile, her eyes, the tone or her voice, and facial expressions. I bet she learned those in Ospitale.
Hospitality is a warm and cordial welcome to my friends and their friends and strangers who will soon be friends. It’s making room. It’s finding a place at the table, on the couch, and in the conversation for their presence and their ideas. It’s offering them what they need to feel at home and to let self-consciousness fall away from them.
Today and through the weekend I’ll have guests.
My goal is to extend the warmest hospitality.
I want to welcome, entertain, protect, and serve each person with generosity. Blog reading is so tied to conversation. Hospitality and blogging belong together.
And for my guests at home . . . I’ll offer generous hospitality there too.