Mother on the right, Aunt Madeline on the left,

and me–age 5.

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling (1Pet. 4:9).

My mother taught me well!  She was, in my opinion, the queen of hospitality.  No one was overlooked. Mom invited relatives, friends, neighbors, and my father’s co-workers into our home for tea, cookies, a meal, conversation, a party, a game of Bridge.  No one was a stranger to her.

I remember my 13th birthday party. She made me a special dress and baked a cake from scratch. We opened our house and yard to twenty boys and girls in my eighth grade class. I still remember what a special evening it was.

When my cousin John announced his engagement, Mother volunteered immediately to host a bridal shower for his fiancé, Carol. And when I wanted to have a ‘sleep over’ for my close friends, she moved the living room furniture out of the way so we could throw our ‘bedrolls’ (no sleeping bags in those day) on the floor next to one another.

People from Canada, Italy, Texas, New York, and Florida, to name a few, stayed overnight with our family in our small home in a suburb of Chicago. Mother wanted it that way.  Two priests, who visited us off and on when they came through our part of the country, said Mass in our dining room on many occasions.

During the Christmas season Mom stood over the stove and at the kitchen counter for hours making English toffee, butter horn cookies, and apple pie to give as gifts. She was famous for her sweets!

It was not until Mother died in 2003 that I realized that she was the church in action. From the notes, cards, calls, and in-person stories people shared, I saw what a ‘minister’ she was, dispensing Jesus’ grace, humility, laughter, and hospitality ’round the year and sometimes ’round the clock, as needed.

At her memorial service, my cousin’s wife Carol acknowledged Mom for the bridal shower of some twenty-five years before, and a distant relative came up to me with tears in her eyes. “There was no one like Eva,” said Hattie. “She always had a smile and an inquiring word about my kids and me. I loved that woman.”

And I loved her too–my dear mother. She would have been 100 years old this year. May she rest in peace with gratitude from all who loved her.




The Gift of Hospitality — 25 Comments

  1. What a wonderful heritage and I am fortunate to have had the same ! Mom and Dad even fed the ‘tramps/hobos’ who often stopped by our house in the late 30’s and early 40’s. Our home was always open to visitors for a meal, night or just a visit. I am thankful for this!!!

    Thanks, Karen, for bringing back great memories. Margaret

    • Thanks for this insight into your parents, Margaret. Charles said his mom did the same thing during the 30s and 40s–fed whoever came to the door since times were so tough then during WWII.

  2. Wonderful, sweet tribute to your Mom. I felt the same about my mother. I hope they know how much they are cherished.

    Hope all is well with you.

    • Thanks, Marie. We were blessed indeed with wonderful mothers. I am well and I hope you are too. You and I go back a long way. It is very gratifying for me to know you took the principles you learned about writing and became a published author.

  3. What a cutie you are in that picture!! I can see your same smile today. How wonderful to experience God’s love in action through your mom.

    • Thanks, Pam. Yes, I have good memories. Mom did her best and it was a blessing, even more now, as I look back.

  4. What womderful memories of you mom. You are just like her, very friendly and always a smile on your face. I, too, miss my mom. Unfortunately, I didn’t appreciate her until after she was gone.

    • Thanks, Roz. I appreciate your comment and your share about your remembrance of your mother. Had a great walk on New Brighton Beach today. We missed you.

  5. I love this. How perfectly right you are about this being the church in action. A great tribute and a wonderful reminder to us. Thank you, Karen.

  6. I remember Christmas at her home as a child and the way she decorated the house with ribbons on the stairwell and the yummy breakfasts in the “nook.” I have a glass top (ceramic top) stove now and I immediately thought of Eva (Grammy) because she had one. I remember her making dinners so effortlessly.

    But she was also hip! Funny as a sit com, sharp, always dressed to kill. She was hospitable, smart, and modern—such a great blend!

    Thanks for reminding me.

    • Thanks for sharing your great memories, Julie, and for taking time to read the blog. That’s a blessing to me. My mom was a terrific grandmother too. She’s been my role model in that phase of life.

  7. Beautifully written! Straight from the heart! I love the picture, too. Simple, everyday acts of kindness add up to a life of loving and giving to others. I’m sure your mom felt great joy as she ministered to others in her home.
    What a wonderful example! Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you, Michele. I can see that you and I both enjoy writing about the good things in life and the wonderful memories we have of earlier times with our families. I always enjoy your blog articles. They inspire me.

  8. What a testimony of love. passed on Jan 19, 2004. Likw your mom, she was the consummate mother, first one up and last one to bed. I’d put the smell of her kitchen up against any kitchen.vshe always had bread, apple bsrs, or chocolate chip cookies baking. Mom had a way of consoling anybody that was down or not feeling well. It was because of my mom that I am a Christian. She had a special personal verse for all us kids. Mine was Proverbs 3:5,6. She even brought dad into the kingdom. Thank you so much for sharing your mom. It made me think once again of my dear mother. She’s the lucky one – she’s with Jesus.

    • Jim, you are one of my most faithful readers. I really appreciate the time you take to read and make thoughtful comments. Your mom sounds like a special angel.

  9. Very enlightening article. Cute picture of yourself but I can’t imagine you having such long hair. I do remember both your mom and dad! I also enjoy reading your children’s comments.

    • Thanks, Mary. I remember your mom too–such a gracious and sweet woman. She had a sense of humor! When her hair turned curly after chemo she saw it as a ‘perk.’

  10. Sometimes it would take my mom a wk, a wk and a half to get ready for Thanksgiving. She made place mats for everyone and napkin holders made from tp rolls that she crocheted around with bright orange yarn. She’d take little baby jars and make pumpkins out of them. And the dinner — woe.

    Of course, Christmas was no different. You would NOT believe the cookies she made. Russian Tea cakes, thumbprints, snickerdoodles, sugar cookies, chocolate chip, oatmeal cookies, and again with the dinner.

    I used to play city league baseball and I remember before each game we played she’d give me a hug and rub my shoulder blade for good luck. Toward the end of her life, when I’d go visit her, as soon as I walked in the door, I’d hear her say to me, “Hi-ie hunn-n-n-y.” Man I miss that greeting.

  11. Your blogs always relate to simple life moments that are the most important. I especially enjoy your references to family and the memories invoked. Aunts Eva and Madeline were wonderful to me, and the picture of them with you brought back so many memories of wonderful parties at your home while we were growing up. I’ll always remember your Mother’s laughter, beauty, charm and wit…most often besting her brothers! I’m grateful we are still connected, even while living many miles apart.

    • Thank you, Carol. Your comments bring a smile and a tear. I love knowing we are still connected after all these years–even though we are apart in miles. We both have beautiful heritages to sustain us as we grow older.

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