Xenia: In Greek, the laws of hospitality. It is the act of showing generosity and courtesy to people far from home. Travelers and visitors to strange places may ask for food, shelter, and assistance to continue their journey. It was expected in ancient times that the person asked would graciously provide whatever the traveler needed or else endure the wrath of Zeus. Both guest and host must show respect to one another and the host must give the guest a departing gift.
An Example from Literature: Homer's The Odyssey - The Phaeacians applied the tenets of xenia, as the princess and her maids offered to bathe Odysseus and then led him to the palace to be fed and entertained.
My Try: Welcome to Lizards Thicket, Home of the Muscadine Maidens read the sign at the four-way intersection. A two-pump gas station with a plastic sign that said BUS STOP propped in the window welcomed the dust from journeymen's shoes for the past 60 years. When her Greyhound pulled in, Netty decided this was as good a place as any to use the restroom and buy a Hershey bar.
A small Christmas bell attached to the top of the door announced her entry. "What can I do for you today, young lady?" a weathered man wearing faded tattoos on both forearms cheerfully asked. His fingernails were black with engine grease, though Netty, from the bare landscape, couldn't figure whose cars "Jimmy," the embroidered oval on his shirt read, had fixed. "Yeah, not much left of Lizards Thicket," he continued, as if reading her mind. "Just me and the Muscadine Maidens." He pointed to six bobblehead figurines holding baskets of grapes. "My uncle brought 'em home from the war."
The only folks through Lizards Thicket anymore used it as a portal to whatever they thought lay at the end of the crossroads. "If you can get here," Jimmy said, "you can get anywhere in the world. Yep, you're standing at one of the centers of the Universe."
"Can you mail a letter for me?" Netty asked.
"Sure can. Be happy to. How 'bout a Co-cola? On me." Netty nodded and gave him the pretty pink envelope. "Like I said, you can get anywhere if you can get to Lizards Thicket. You can even get back to whatever it is you're running from."
The bus driver waved, indicating time to go. Jimmy handed Netty a map, plus some salted peanuts for her Coke. He shrugged off her dollar bills. "Always remember where you came from. It'll help you to know where you're going."
How do you show hospitality to others? Does it come naturally to you or do you have to work at it?
April 29th - Yarn
P.S. I'm in panic mode. Two days remaining to wrap up this story. If I chewed 'em, my fingernails would be nubs. If I smoked 'em, my ashtray would be full of cigarette butts. Right about now would be a great time to take up a vice so I could relieve some stress.