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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Xenia

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?

(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

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.

20 comments:

shelly said...

I've got a character who eats chocolate when in a pinch like staving off hungry vampires. She's known for cramming in a chocolate bar before decapitating her foes. It helps her focus.

Chinking said...

Why panic? Seems to me that your blog has been right on target, every day, all month, with systematic precision, creativity and grace. Other than that, it's been just ok.

How's that for bit of hospitality's cousin; encouragement?

Lauracea said...

Your excerpt, Lucy, is spot on for xenia. Wish it really was like that in real life. And the host giving the guest a present. Hmmmm...I give 'em left-over food LOL!

Sharon said...

I've been on both the giving and receiving end of xenia more times than I can remember. My mother-in-law taught me hospitality but it is a dying art here in the USA. I am delighted whenever I can offer it.

Brianna said...

Don't panic! You've done spectacular this entire month. I've never been disappointed! It would work out better for me if you couldn't wrap this story up and had to continue it! I sure am going to miss Netty!

Although I do understand your panic and need to relieve stress. I've taken up a Twizzler addiction!

Lizards Thicket is a terrific name for a town. I like the sound of it and the way it engages the senses.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

With only 2 more letters to go you have done well.
I loved this as you always seem to write of interesting subjects.

Yvonne.

Nicole said...

For some reason, this post reminded me of that show, Xena: Warrior Princess.

The Madlab Post

Catherine Denton said...

I love spreading smiles and hugs to make others feel welcome. But actually hosting people in my home is more of a stretch.
My Blog

Tara Tyler said...

thanks for visiting my blog & commenting. I've been through almost the whole alphabet visiting and I don't remember stopping by here - I love your a-z pieces of advice!
And if you want to relieve some stress - I'll loan you my dog, he could use a good long walk =)
happy x day!

Jenny said...

This is my first visit to your fantastic blog, and I see I have some catching up to do!

I agree with the earlier comment...when all else fails: chocolate.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Yep! I echo the chocolate advice. It cures ALL troubles. :-)

Joanne said...

I like the suggestion to remember where you came from, it'll help you to know where you're going. Isn't our past so much a part of who we are, and what we seek ...

Gregg said...

Good job and well done.

Josh Hoyt said...

Good luck and remember vices just take up more time. You could go running or walking though:)

William Kendall said...

Meanwhile, Zeus was out in the back room having his way with the hosts' daughter, wife, maid, or all three, while the host was worrying about offending his deityship.

Darlene said...

Haha on the previous comment! I'm so glad you stopped by my blog, because now I've found your blog. I like your story, but I have some catching up to do. My grandmother's name was Nettie.

Robyn Campbell said...

Hey Lucy! Great to know you. Hmmm, why are you stressin' out. Your blog is great. I'm going to have to read your story from A. I'll probably do that tomorrow.

Love your voice in Xenia. :0)

Mary Aalgaard said...

Naturally. I don't know if it is upbringing or personality, but if you came here, I'd be offering you something to drink, a comfortable place to sit and ask you how you're doing.
Great story.
Thanks for visiting my blog today. How are you doing? Here's a cup of tea.

Maggie said...

Haha this is awesome. I love your blog. Thanks for the comment today - it made me stop over and see who left it! :) I'll be following.

Carrie said...

Great example of hospitality. It makes me want to visit Lizards Thicket

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