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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Guest, You are Welcome to Such as We've Got

The leaks in the roof,
The soup in the pot.

With the holidays peeking around the corner at me, this old verse that adorned framed handwork in the guest bedroom of my third cousin's Athens, GA home rolls on an endless loop in my head. Through the coming weeks I'll take turns being a guest and hosting guests, and I honestly don't know which is more stressful, particularly when I'm heavy on leaks and low on soup.

Fortunately, author Kathy Bertone is coming to the rescue of people like me. Having dubbed herself the Visit Wizard, she's doing her best to help me, despite the words 'Lost Cause' stamped on my forehead. Recently, she shared her expert advice with me for an article about holding your tongue during the holidays in the November 2012 issue of Augusta Family Magazine. In her book, The Art of the Visit, released in the St. Nick of time for my annual Thanksgiving meltdown, she gives sage advice on becoming the perfect guest and becoming the perfect host. And the cover is so beautiful, it can be strategically stacked on the bedside table in the guest room.

Here I am publicly admitting that I found the first half of the book, which dealt with hostessing, overwhelming and exhausting. In fact, I initially decided that I must be lazier than a two-toed sloth. Unwilling, however, to sit forever in a cesspool of my own making, I scanned back through the pages to check off what I already do well: I'm welcoming, I plan activities, I plan meals and purchase supplies ahead of time, I clean my house (it's cursory, it's mainly restricted to areas my guests will see, but it is done), and I'm extremely flexible. So, I'm getting there.

After reading the second half of the book, I realized that I was born to be a guest. I stop a hair short of being a guest in my own home, because, being southern, I simply can't stoop that low. What would my third cousin think of me?

Joking aside, Bertone has duly composed a comprehensive compendium of everything a person ever needs to know about visitors and visiting, and she has done it with wisdom, wit and sensitivity. She outlines specifics on how to prepare for and survive the visit from the moment the invitation is extended to the second the car pulls out of the driveway on the last day. And I don't just mean survive; I mean truly enjoy the time spent.

The Art of the Visit covers:
  • Creating a welcoming home.
  • Essential qualities of a great host.
  • Hosting children and young adults.
  • Hosting older guests.
  • Essential qualities of a great guest.
  • Hospitality in regard to pets.
  • And so much more.
The only thing it doesn't have is this:

Guest, you are welcome here,
Be at your ease.
Get up when you're ready,
Go to bed when you please.

We're happy to share with you
Such as we've got,
The leaks in the roof
And the soup in the pot.

You don't have to thank us
Or laugh at our jokes,
Sit deep and come often...
You're one of the folks!


The Visit Wizard said...

Ha, ha!! Loved this review, Lucy! Honest and humorous as all your work. Poem at the end was wonderful. I wish I had that to put in the book! All the best to you, Kathy

Jo said...

My grandmother used to say "Fish and relations stink after two days"

William Kendall said...

Jo, some relations take much less time than that!

Rose Chandler Johnson said...

This is a lovely review and have to say I love the humor. I want to read more of both of your writing...Blessings to you both.

Lucy Adams said...

So, I'm a bit late on responding here, but Rose reminded me of my manners. Thanks y'all for your kind words and anecdotes!

The Visit Wizard said...

Hi Rose, isn't Lucy a great writer? Thanks for the comments. Visit my website to read and watch more about the book and hosting and visiting. Happy visits!