Angels Unawares

In the event blog readers were unaware, this week’s unstated theme has been “making it through the holidays gracefully.” There were some pictures of simple decorations, ideas on how to stay energized and composed, and even some clever hostess gifties.

It’s likely that before I get back to writing about gardening, selling my chicken coop-sized condo, and borrowing Uncle Bob’s tractor, I’ll write a few Christmas stories. Surely everyone wants to hear about Midnight Mass circa 1984 with the “Lord of Lewiston?”

For now, I’ll keep the conversational car out of the ditch; what’s really been on my mind this week is “hospitality.” Not that hospitality isn’t always on my mind, it’s just that when one lives in a chicken coop-sized condominium at the end of the earth, it’s not so easy to throw open the doors and say “come on in.” No, I’m always dreaming of the day when I’ll have a bigger coop; even a front porch and a yard would enhance my hospitality factor. Until I do, I’m limited in how hospitable I can be.

This past weekend, I bought an interesting wooden pineapple at an antique shop. The top comes off and it’s hollow inside, perfect for filling with candy.

Entertaining Angels Unawares

The pineapple has long been a symbol of hospitality. Sea captains, returning home from their travels to tropical ports, would spear a pineapple near the door to let neighbors know the man of the house was home and receiving visitors. In colonial America, a pineapple centerpiece in the middle of the table was a high compliment to guests; it meant the host or hostess cared enough to serve the very best.

Pineapples were often carved into door frames and bedposts, too.

The Junior League of Boston uses the pineapple motif in Decorator Show House marketing materials and the 34th Show House had a “Pineapple Boutique,” full of hospitable gifts.

When I first spied my wooden pineapple, I thought of giving it as a giftie to my Junior League bestie. Her birthday is today, by the way, and it seemed like a thoughtful gesture. But my JLB bestie doesn’t like knick knacks; she’s more of a minimalist, so I decided to keep the pineapple for myself.

It didn’t seem right, though, to have a symbol of hospitality sitting on the table here at The Coop where no one would ever enjoy it. After all, to be hospitable means a person is “given to generous and cordial welcome.”

I filled it up with Lindt Lindor truffles. These delicious chocolates are manufactured right around the corner in Stratham and they’re a good item for the innards of a hollow pineapple. They’re tasty, they’re individually wrapped, and they offer enough chocolate goodness so that no one ever makes a pig of themselves by eating more than one or two at a sitting…maybe three.

I brought my practical pineapple to The Big Corporation and set it up next to my cubicle. I don’t know how I got so lucky when we moved to our new building, but I sit right next to the window and my not-so-lucky office mates sometimes mosey down to visit me for a glimpse of the outside world. It seemed only proper and hospitable that I have something to offer them.

It’s pineapple perfect!

“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2, KJV

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