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House guests rebuffed new towels, face cloths

Joyce Walter writes about entertaining house guests
Reflective Moments by Joyce Walter

It had been almost a quarter century since our guest room had been occupied by overnight guests.

Time goes by so quickly when it is just two of us residing in the family home and in that time, we had become complacent about which of us would take over certain rooms in which to store and hang on to valuable treasures. 

We were ecstatic when our friends said they were coming to Moose Jaw for a visit. They tentatively suggested they would investigate a hotel room but we immediately vetoed that idea, saying our home is their home, dust, junk and all.

They agreed that staying with us would be conducive for more visiting time and the plan was set. We would have house guests. Yes, guests that would have access to every corner of the house. Yikes: dust mop where are you when you’re needed?

Our potential guests assured us they wouldn’t look in the corners, but that wouldn’t be a problem, because most of those corners were obscured by boxes and bags, accumulations of stuff, with only single pathways for navigational purposes.

And so it began, a methodical look at what would stay and what would go to charity book sales and to collectors of clothing and household items. We begged boxes from friends, family and local businesses and during their available time, the nephew and niece and their truck were conscripted to deliver loads to various locations, including the city landfill site.

Time-line schedules were made to ensure the debris would be gone and the corners dusted before our guests arrived. In order to make the job easier and save our backs from some heavy lifting, we bought a cordless vacuum and zoomed around the house and up and down the stairs collecting buckets of dust that we would have been embarrassed for anyone to see.

We scrubbed and polished and hid away some boxes in a room that would not be used by our guests unless they wandered in there by mistake. They would have retreated in a hurry.

It is ironic that after our guests had returned to their Ontario home, a provincial newspaper did a feature story on what to do to make a house more friendly for overnight visitors. I read it with interest and noted that we had correctly carried out many of the recommendations.

I removed extraneous items from the guest room. Space was provided in the guest room closet. Chairs were provided on which to store luggage and for sitting for such chores as putting on socks should the bed be too soft or too high. I cleared away stuff on the dresser top. 

The bathtub was cleaned thoroughly, and the shower was checked by the plumber. 

The newspaper story suggested the bedding should be pristine. Yes, it was. The sheets were new and so were the pillows. Unfortunately, the pillows had to be scrunched into the pillowcases that were a size too small because I misread the packaging.

In the bathroom, the recommendation was new towels and face cloths to be available. I was so proud of myself for doing that without any prompts. I hung newly purchased green hand towels and face cloths, plus put the new bath towels readily available in the linen closet. 

I failed the recommendations to put out guest robes, slippers and hand lotion. Nor did I provide scented candles and bottled water and the hangers in the closet were not covered with fabric. Perhaps my hostess training required a refresher course.

Because our guests were such good friends, we felt comfortable urging them to make themselves at home, use the toaster at will, help themselves to bacon and eggs or cereal. Dust if they liked, or not.

But I have to confess to some disappointment in their visit. Our guests went home without using the new towels and face cloths. And so they hang there on the towel rack, waiting to be put away for the next visit. So lonely, so forlorn!

Joyce Walter can be reached at

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.  

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