Saturday, June 2, 2012

Visitors among Other Invasive Creatures

(I welcome your comments and questions through the "comments" option below any entry. --Laura)

Everyone who has a second home on a lake or beach or other attractive setting has stories about their visitors.  Below are some of mine. 

Like any parent who is sure that his baby is the most beautiful in the world, Bryan’s love affair with the state of Alaska and his property adventure had prompted him to invite everyone on the planet to visit us over the next few summers.   Initially, I looked forward to these visitors as a break from outdoor labor.  On the other hand, the experiences of our first few visitors soon engendered in me an intense reaction approaching xenophobia.  I came to fear an onslaught of na├»ve visitors, larded up with the same multi-faceted ignorance that we demonstrated so amply on any given day.  Given Bryan’s superlatives, what if they expected a vacation resort rather than what was really a remote homestead?  What if they regarded words like “rustic” as something that still included indoor plumbing and a gravel road to a doctor or shopping mall?  On the other hand, what if they thought they knew their way around guns and fishing hooks and fire ... because they were of a particular gender that assumes muscle memory from being a cub scouts several decades earlier or watching Discovery Channel once upon a time.

With each ensuing visitor, I adapted a planning, and packing guide – whether to encourage or discourage visitors is open to interpretation.  I also limited the number of guests to one set per month and, except for relatives, to 3 days,  after one particularly social summer when I cooked 156 person/meals (yes - I counted) for business friends of my husband (and their families) - people I had never met before and rarely seen since.  

Below are some of the "best - worst guest anecdotes." 

 (Dear Friends:  you know who you are).