The Essence of Hospitality
My weekly schedule sometimes consists of one-of-a-kind meetings that are out of my normal routine of roles and responsibilities.
Recently, I ran into a special friend downtown who told me she had sent me four invitations to something she has created and was puzzled that she hadn’t heard from me. Once we cleared up that my contact information had changed, she gave me a date and time for her next happening and I promised to be there.
I didn’t have any other details but since she is a world-class contributor, I knew that whatever she was up to would be worthwhile
The evening arrived and I showed up at the designated time, still in the dark about what to expect. My friend is Lindsay Smith-Rosales, owner of Nirvana Grille, who I have known since she was in fourth grade with my daughter, Sara.
I got a big welcoming hug and she got back to work arranging tables and chairs for the 35 women she was expecting. I pitched in and found out that she reserves the restaurant once a month for women who live or work in town to come together to “eat, drink, and be merry” in the spirit of support, friendship and celebration of this beautiful community we are so privileged to participate in.
As we set up the venue, the front door kept opening and delivering women “bearing gifts” of wine, appetizers, desserts, etc. Greetings and new introductions were happening amidst the bustle of plates being set, napkins folded, wines opened and everyone contributing their cheer and muscle to get this party started.
Old friends happily embraced, new friends were eagerly introduced and the environment crackled with exuberant energy and spontaneous delight created by so many incredible women of different ages and skills coming together to simply enjoy each other’s company.
Lindsay made a quick announcement: “Everyone who wants to help cook, follow me into the kitchen.”
Someone asked: “Do we need to prepare the plates?”
“No. We will be eating family-style. Cooks follow me and those who want to drink and visit, help yourself at the bar.”
The conversations were lively around the bar area and the kitchen was a flurry of activity with Lindsay effortlessly conducting this happening by including everyone in the production with an ease and expertise that was awesome to experience.
There was an abundance of food, exquisite variety and tastes and as I looked around the room it was both inspiring and so fulfilling to see all these beautiful women interacting, relaxing, and enthusiastically enjoying each other.
As I drove home, I was so touched by the experience and grateful that I didn’t know what to expect. I assumed it could be a charity event, a fundraiser for a worthy cause or something that would require some deliberation or effort of some kind. Maybe it would be an ongoing problem that needs to be altered or addressed or something for the good of the community.
Who knew that the evening would brilliantly be devoted to good women coming together in the spirit of communion and friendship? The opportunity to create and share a meal under the competent guidance and generosity of Lindsay, for the sole purpose of meeting and forging new connections was a delightful surprise. The unexpected result for me was that the process gifted me with a deepening and solidifying of my connection to myself and to my community.
There is a saying that the test of being a good host is how well the departing guests like themselves. Thank you,
Lindsay, for this exquisite experience and for continuing to create opportunities that contribute so much.
Susan is a local author and leadership consultant. Reach her at beyondintellect.com.