Once a year, I host a Bible Study at my home. Every lady in our church"circle" either hosts the gathering at her home or at the church on the second Tuesday of the month. I have always enjoyed having it at my house for several reasons. First, I just enjoy the company but the second reason is that it forces me to do an extra thorough job of cleaning my house. I try to schedule my "turn" in the summer, sometime in June or July. (That's why I was powerwashing the driveway..in case I was able to host in July.)
Now this becomes a real bone of contention in my family. The whining begins around the end of May. "There is no reason to clean out the attic," my husband says, "it's 400 degrees up there and nobody is going to pull the steps down and climb up and look at your Christmas decorations in July." "Tell me again, why do we have to repaint all the baseboards and clean out all the light fixtures and the vents?" he pleads. But every year he dutifully begins the task of "whitewashing" the outside of the house and the detached garage. You can smell the bleach a mile away. I'm rather surprised the neighbors haven't called the EPA on us. He repaints the outside of the house, manicures the lawn, clips bushes and then we move to the inside.
My family usually takes a little trip to Foley, Alabama just before "circle" and I spend my entire vacation (all two days of it) in Old Tyme Pottery. Needed: small area rug in front of sink, new orange square dessert plates for the caramel cake, guest towels for the bathroom, curtains and pillows to match new duvet cover. Do you get the picture? My house gets scrubbed from top to bottom. Anyone could open any drawer, closet or cabinet and it looks like a model home...for that night anyway. (Even the top of the refrigerator is scrubbed...you never know when your tall friends might slide a finger or two across the top while you are cutting the cake and serving the nuts just to make sure you've done a thorough job.) By "serving the nuts", I am not referring to my Bible Study friends. We have a "circle" tradition to ALWAYS serve mixed nuts. If you don't, people raise an eyebrow. We aren't sure how the tradition started, but it's like a cardinal rule. Once somebody forgot and a hush fell over the group as we entered the dining room. We were stunned to say the least. We could tell the hostess with the mostest was embarrassed, but really now, NO nuts?! I believe it was the last time it's ever happened. You would be excused if you forgot the dessert, but, by george, you better not forget the Planter's Mixed Nuts.
My husband just doesn't understand this phenomenon. "Why do you do all this?" he implores. Simple: These are my friends. We have gone to "circle" together for years. This is the way I show my friends that I care about them. If it means going a little out of my way, what's the big deal? What have you wasted? A little time...from May 26 to July 1 is such a little slice of your life. I must also admit that I truly LOVE to have my house clean and orderly. When the study is over and everyone has gone, I walk around blowing out the candles, picking up the stray nut or two, plumping up the pillows...it's such a great sense of satisfaction to have a quiet, still, clean house where people have hopefully enjoyed your hospitality. You just do that for people you love.
BTW: This summer was a little different. Our schedules were completely confused, and I didn't have the chance to host at my house. It was ok. I had refreshments at the church and tried to make it nice...hauled all the orange square plates to the church, etc. but to me, there was something missing. I missed not only the clean house, but the fellowship of my friends laughing and enjoying themselves in my home.The other day, I needed to move something on top of the refrigerator...ewwww...dust! That wouldn't have happened if I had hosted at my house! I suggest that at least once a year you all host some type of little party; give yourself two or three months to get ready; and then just have a blast with your friends. Doesn't have to cost much, just gather them into your home and laugh and make each other feel better! (Don't forget the nuts. You will be amazed at how much better everything goes when there are nuts around!)
Lessons to Be Learned:
1. As your friends age, their eyesight goes. You also are getting older and it's harder to clean as well. They can't see anyway, so don't sweat it too much.
2. Going an extra mile for somebody is a natural way of expressing love. Do it as often as you can.
3. If you wait until your home is perfect to have people in your home, you probably won't. To quote my mother, "Don't do that!"