I brush the toilet, close shower curtains to hide the bathtub ring, and shine faucets. A clean hand towel completes the deception.
I stuff dishes into the dishwasher. Gross pots and pans go under the sink. Front edges of the refrigerator shelves are washed, and I swab random spots on the kitchen floor.
Attempting the ancient balancing process known as fling shoey, I toss more shoes into the closet than block the front entrance.
The doors of all bedrooms, offices and extra bathrooms are bolted shut.
Thus, the whited-sepulchre process of cleaning for company is complete.
Why do I stress so?
When children, my siblings and I welcomed visiting kids as reinforcements in the ongoing War Against Grown-ups. Together, we reversed Mom’s earlier cleanup process with relentless efficiency. Once, my brother, our friends and I threw a superior batch of mud pies at our church’s windows.
We didn’t have company for a while.
As Dad was a pastor, our family hosted evangelists and missionaries, often with little advance warning. Watching Mom perfect the God-help-us-they’re-here drill, I learned her technique.
We children celebrated when Brother Alleman visited. Though my sister and I slept on the floor, Brother Alleman’s big smile, his faith-filled stories, and candy bars he brought won our hearts.
As a teenager, though, I wished my parents weren’t quite so hospitable.
One morning, returning after an overnight campout, I encountered a teen boy I’d never seen before, asleep on our sofa. After recovering, I helped Mom fix breakfast for him and 20 other out-of-town church members, strewn throughout our house. They’d mistakenly thought our church held services Friday evenings.
At least, that situation lasted only one night.
One female ex-gang member shared my room for months — but we became good friends. She demonstrated how to throw a knife in less than a second.
When I left home, I declared I’d live a normal life.
Normal? I married a country doctor with a solo medical practice. With my cohost often failing to show and only my children to help(?), I invited few guests. Eventually, I gave up.
Recently, though, with Hubby’s slower-paced job, I dusted off my having-company drill. We’ve rediscovered hospitality.
Mudballs and gang members aside, having company has become a treat again.
Almost as good as Brother Alleman’s candy bars.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Does the prospect of company stress or bless you?