There are many things about my childhood that are happy, but there are a few things I want to recreate in my own life.
One is the dining room table, practically inside the kitchen. There were times that so many people gathered around the table that we frequently pulled over the piano bench to fit everyone. I love the memories of visitors and family, bellies full of good food, sitting around the cleared table, afraid to abandon the table in favor of the couch in fear of ruining the moment.
We tried moving the gathering from the table to the couch a couple times, but the feeling and conversation doesn’t transfer the same. Actually, it doesn’t transfer well at all.
The other is having a guest room, somewhere for friends and family to stop and stay while en route to their destination.
The small town where I grew up was not really a destination for travelers, but it was perfectly situated to be a pit stop. We had many people travel through who stopped for a few hours or for the night. A close family friend didn’t dub the house “Clark Hotel” for just any reason. There was a period of time that people were coming through almost every weekend.
I’m not really sure how my mom felt about playing host to travelers all the time, but it was one of my favorite times. It seemed our family had grown by a few people, which added new dynamics and experiences to my own.
I still enjoy having people gathered at my house with food and laughter. I haven’t done much hosting in the past few years, either because life has been busy with school and work, or I didn’t feel like my home was big enough to hold many people for a party.
Which I realize is sort of silly. There are logistical matters to consider, of course, but enjoying each other doesn’t actually have much to do with the space, and has everything to do with the company.
Right now I don’t have a guest room and I’m pretty much not on the way to anywhere. It’s not very often people I know travel through Alaska, and I’m not ready to offer up my couch for couch surfing. Maybe someday, but not right now.
But my long-term goal is to create my own Clark Hotel. A place where people stop by no matter the day or time, and stay for a meal or a night. I want a place where people feel comfortable and warm and taken care of.
And if memory serve correctly, that hospitality usually involves ice cream, games and warm beverages.