Christianity, Family History, Hospitality, Legacy


My parents were happiest when they were entertaining.


Have you ever noticed how important eating is in the Bible? The Proverbs 31 woman rises early to prepare food for her family. Sarah cooked up a feast for the three travelers who dropped in on them with mind-blowing news. Jesus wanted his last meal with his followers to be in our memory forever. Communal meals were part of the new church in Acts, and  we still have potlucks with our church family and friends.

Jesus walked everywhere.

While food is often at the center of our gatherings, hospitality embodies much more than just eating a meal together. 

Remember how Abraham brought water for his visitors to wash their feet. Then there was the Pharisee who didn’t offer that common courtesy to Jesus. But a woman who knew she needed a Savior washed his feet extravagantly with her tears. 

Mother loved to cook for family. Here she is with 
my sister-in-law, Martha, and Terry’s brother, Jerry.

True hospitality is the opening of our hearts to one another, saying you are important enough for me to go all out for your visit. With really close friends, it often involves cooking and cleaning up together with lots of chatter and laughter.

This is our fun Brunch Bunch.

My parents definitely had the gift of hospitality. Mother made it look easy. Looking back, I realize there were times she was bone tired when unannounced company dropped by. However, no one would have ever known they had inconvenienced her. 

Mother’s oldest brother lived in Texas. It was not unusual to look out the window to see his car rolling to a stop in front of the house about 5:30 p.m. on a week day. No telephone call, no letter. Just the big grin he flashed when we opened the door. 

Mother worked full time, but I only remember her voicing her exasperation once. Her “Hells Bells” was as close to swearing as I ever heard from of her. She adored Aunt Altie and Uncle Tate, but a little notice would have been nice. 

Uncle Tate & Aunt Altie Dale
(He was a caution.)
Will and I were in grade school back then and less aware of the strain. We thought they were fun. Uncle Tate always had both pockets filled with change. We knew he’d eventually drop all those nickels, dimes and quarters into our hands. Wherever he was, you could count on spirited conversation and laughter. And sometimes he bought T-bone steaks that he seasoned with red pepper and broiled for us.

I suppose my uncle’s freedom to drop in on his baby sister unannounced was a testament to her love and acceptance. But now that I’m an adult who has worked, it wears me out just thinking about those visits. 

Even though I inherited some of Mother’s hospitality genes, I’m not sure I could have done what she did without complaining. (We all know I couldn’t, but I would have waited until they were gone to gripe. And, yes, I’m working on that fault.)

My Daddy & Mother
Wilbur & Winnie Latimer

I’m proud of my parents’ legacy of hospitality. I hope I will always be ready to share food, shelter, or whatever is needed, along with the Good News, with whoever shows up at my door. 

After all, that’s the way God greeted me many years ago when I knocked on heaven’s door.

What about you? 

Do you like to entertain or do you dread it?

 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing 
some have unwittingly entertained angels.  
Hebrews 13:2 NKJV

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