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Friday, April 12, 2013

Be Our Guest!

I've been keeping a guestbook since 1991  when my kids and I bought a little A-frame house, moved in, got a dog, and hunkered down for the next 8 years.  That book filled up, we got another etc. Last week headstone salesman/good friend Scott wrote the last comment in our 5th book.  Replacing a guestbook isn't as easy as one would hope.  They're very very challenging to find-- white wedding ones being dominant.  Our last book has a moose, a wood duck, a fish, pine cones and an Adirondack chair on the cover.  Outstanding as far as guestbooks go--top in its class!  I found it in a gift shop of a restaurant on Lake Superior in Minnesota.  I should have purchased two.

I curl up in bed with these guestbooks sometimes.  They make great reading and infuse one with nostalgia.  Several languages appear, some addresses and emails, art, jokes, recipes, and even titles of books or dvd's that have been borrowed.  Some people just sign their names.  Others write epistles.  A few just parrot back what the person ahead of them wrote.  Some signatures are illegible.  The next time we're all together, I think we'd better do some deciphering.

These books chronicle exchange students, wedding dinners, slumber parties, book clubs, knitting groups, baby and bridal showers, home evenings, class visits of my students, investment clubs (both inceptions and founder's days), family visits, fundraisers, missionary farewells and homecomings, Eagle Scout parties, graduation parties, birthday parties, cooking demonstrations, Chinese New Year celebrations, BINGO, Old Movie Club, new Beagle puppy baby  llama and  newborn alpaca visits, Halloween donuts visits, moving away farewells, moving in welcomes, visits from church people, strangers passing through who came to dinner, guests who stayed overnight or for multiple months, students who brought college roommates or fiancés or new babies to introduce, relatives in town for a funeral, friends who came to wallpaper or paint or start a furnace, guests using our NJ home as base or NYC visits, missionary meals, llama and alpaca shearing events--in other words, lives lived.

One small guest recorded losing a tooth at our house that day.  One guest was traveling through on horseback from Colorado.  He stayed for a week, cutting wood, making fabulous omelettes, and filling our dinner table with such stories. Another guest proclaims she's "Going out to see the world!" At last report from her mom, Marti is living in Italy, so I guess she is! Eight senior citizen cross America bikers that I met in a camp by our home came for dinner.  They wrote:  "Thanks for stopping to inquire about our trip.  It was so nice to meet your son and friends."  "I loved your bread, my Bosch 'sister'!"  "Marilyn, I don't know how to tell you how much pleasure it gives me to see God's children being kind to wayward travelers."  Oh, but that was MY pleasure, Bud.  I have addresses for a few of those bikers from Corvallis, OR.  We're going to Oregon this summer.  What if...?

One of my favorite entries was made in August of 1997 by one Jerry Hadd: "Sure beats Wyoming and Western Nebraska.  Great dinner and marvelous company.  It gets better every day!"

At the moment we're freefalling with no replacement guestbook to break our fall.  I'm tempted to lock all the doors and turn out all the lights until I can once again offer a guest a place to record a date, a signature, and a comment.  Paco always tells people that if you don't sign the book we won't let you come back.  I always deny that. Have I chased people down the sidewalk to their car waving the guestbook?  Well...maybe once or twice.  What good hostess wouldn't?


Season said...

I don't know if any of those fit your taste or needs. But there's a few options still out there. I love your guest book, and we plan on visiting in May so we better get on that STAT.

Mad Hadder said...

Thanks for the links! I actually had darling 5 year old twins visit with their aunt and grandma yesterday, so I had to rummage around for a guestbook. It's very natural. Looking forward to your opinion of it.

Patti said...

Who knew a guestbook could be such a treasure trove? I might need to start a new tradition.

Favorite books

  • Me 'n Steve
  • Thundering Sneakers
  • James Herriott's vet books
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Travels with Charley
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Peace Like a River
  • The Egg and I
  • Mary Poppins
  • Extremly Loud Incredibly Close
  • How Green Was my Valley