Archived Opinion

A few words about your accommodations …

A few words about your accommodations …

Dear family, we are so very pleased to have you with us this weekend to celebrate Jack’s graduation from high school. We welcome those who are staying on the residence as well as those who have gone to quite some expense to secure other lodging in the vicinity. We love you all! 

I thought it prudent to go over just a few things that will hopefully make your weekend graduation experience more pleasant and memorable. 

First, with respect to your accommodations, which we hope you will find comfortable and reassuringly tidy, please note the following. While one of your hosts has more of a laissez faire approach to housekeeping — his view is that a house that is TOO pristinely uncluttered is unnatural and may trigger guests into feeling some anxiety over “messing something up” — it may interest you to know that the other host has been obsessing over preparations for this event since mid-January and has been wrestling with an Excel sheet of tasks that simply must be done, right down to polishing the hinges on the closet doors (a kind word on these would be appreciated, but is certainly not required).  

Somehow, like a horror movie monster, the list has continued to grow despite our best efforts to vanquish it. We complete and strike one task from the list and immediately think of two more to add. In any case, there comes a time to make peace with it, and we have, more or less. If you find a candy wrapper under a cushion, in the name of all that is holy, keep that intelligence to yourself. And sorry! 

Speaking of candy, let’s talk snacks. You’ll find an array of them in the pantry and in the fridge. Sweet snacks, salty snacks, healthy snacks, decidedly unhealthy snacks — we’ve got them and you need to eat them or I swear we will tuck them into your luggage unbeknownst to you before you depart. 

The same is true for the beverages. We loaded down the shopping cart with so many cases of soda, fruit juices, and waters that I felt I may need a special kind of operator’s license to maneuver the cart through the obstacle course of shoppers one commonly encounters at Sam’s Club, all oblivious to the very real danger posed by a shopping cart that weighs upwards of 700 pounds.  

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We should probably mention the ambience of our home, which some may find a little unusual. For one thing, it is haunted. As it happens, we live next to an old cemetery, and on occasion weird things will occur. For example, just the other night I was watching a baseball game, when all of a sudden, the sliding screen door that leads out to the deck began to close very slowly on its own until it was shut tight. This was no wind gust. It happened in slow motion, right before my eyes. 

At other times, one of our three miniature dachshunds — I’ll get to them in a minute — will stand in a couple of different particular spots in the house and bark at nothing for five full minutes. Or at least it is nothing we can see, but we are pretty sure he is barking at spirits in the house, probably because they are not giving him any treats. 

As far as we can tell, the ghosts who visit us from time to time are benevolent, although Tammy still insists on burning sage in various parts of the house to discourage them from coming around too often. But if one should close a door, open a window, or turn on a faucet for you during your stay, try not to make too much of it. It only encourages them. 

If you find this unnerving, you can borrow our ghost-chasing dachshund for the evening, although he will wake you up at precisely 4:05 am to go outside to pee. 

Let’s go ahead and discuss the dogs. We have four of them, three mini dachshunds and a chihuahua with an achy hip and a grumpy disposition unless he likes you, which he doesn’t. Not if you’re new, and especially not if you are a man. He is a rescue and evidently had some bad experiences with men, because he attempts to bite as many of them as he can. 

The dogs will be outside for almost all of your stay, so no worries about the furry little meth-heads scurrying around your feet, yapping and lunging at your Ritz crackers and dip. If you see the chihuahua outside peering in, resist the urge to open the door to pet him. He’s not curious about you. He’s just wondering what your ankle tastes like. 

Finally, as to the graduate. Well, he’s a little freaked out right now and a little overwhelmed to have people coming in from all over for the express purpose to see him graduate. If you have questions about his plans, well, he has those same questions, so please don’t expect any pat answers. 

We’re so glad you’re here! Now, who’s ready for a Dr. Pepper and some Cool Ranch Doritos?

(Chris Cox is a writer and teacher who lives in Haywood County. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

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