This summer, I lived with a wonderful lady named Lee. She’s old enough to be my grandmother, and I count her dearly as one. She shared a lot with me this summer. A lot about dating, finances, stick shift cars, and friendships.
One thing that I miss most about Lee on days like today – a slow, lazy, warm day – is our conversations together. I miss her telling me about her sister’s big marriage announcement at a family dinner (it was a big deal), her time with her husband, and her journey through college.
I’m so blessed to have learned a lot from Lee. And one that I think is most important is the art of bringing hostess gifts. Whenever Lee and I were invited to a friends’ house for dinner, Lee would make sure to be intentional about grabbing a bottle of wine or whipping up “homemade” (yummy) brownies to share.
As a woman fascinated by the tradition of Southern Hospitality, you can bet that I didn’t just glaze over this act. Instead, I savored it. The act reminded me of writing thank you notes, but this one a little sweeter. Not only did you get to show your host how grateful you were for the invite and dinner, but you got to enjoy the gift together.
I remember, before I left for the summer, I asked my Granna to make Lee a pound cake. Not just any pound cake. No. A Five Flavor pound cake. The kind that Lee and her friends would bring home from the mountains and store in the freezer to save for the perfect day.
Now, my Granna’s pound cakes are no joke. They are the best things on this Earth. I intentionally asked her to create a pound cake that is out of her normal routine, and for some reason I was nervous about presenting it to Lee.
I remember making it kind of a big deal the day I finally got to bring it to Lee’s house. I was nervous and excited to share something so personal with her. It was her favorite flavors. It was my absolute favorite cake.
We had a special dinner that night, a going-away dinner, since I was leaving my internship that week. Not only did I get to share my love with my new friend Lee, but we got to dig into the sweetness of Five Flavor pound cake around a dinner table with some of my closest friends from the summer. I decided then and there that a simple host gift was the smallest, most satisfactory gift I can think of.
Actually, one of my resolutions this year is to remember the Art of Host Gifts. To take a few minutes out of my week to bring someone I love something they love? It’s the least I can do. It’s one of my goals to be present during the year of 2017 and stopping to think about what’s so special to other people is just perfect.
Sometimes, I think the tradition of bringing host gifts has been lost…we fail to recognize and really take the time to appreciate someone cleaning their home, cooking their food, and entertaining us. (Even if it is enjoyable for the whole party.) But then I think about wonderful people like Lee and her friends, and I am grateful that they are continuing to teach my generation about “things from the past.”
Find your host’s Five Flavor pound cake. Enjoy it with them.