I ran this earlier this year. But I decided that it was particularly appropriate for the holiday season so I move it up to today.
From Mother Nature Network: http://www.mnn.com/your-home/at-home/blogs/in-priase-scruffy-hospitality
June 7, 2016
My friends Dana and John perfectly practice what the Rev. Jack King referred to as “scruffy hospitality.” Their kitchen is small. The wood cabinets are dark and a few decades old. Spices and jars for sugar and flour line the countertops because there’s nowhere else to put them. A tall, round table shoved in a corner has mismatched bar stools crammed around it.
The sliding glass doors in the kitchen lead to a back deck with a well-used chiminea, an outdoor table and a large variety of chairs and cushions, many of them bought at yard sales. We circle the chairs around the chiminea on weekend nights during all four seasons, whenever Dana and John put out a simple call out through text or Facebook that says, “Fire tonight!”
There will always be food, but like the bar stools and deck chairs, the food is mismatched. Our hosts provide some food. John may have the urge to make jalapeño poppers or Dana may put together some version of salsa with whatever’s fresh from the garden, but there’s not a formally prepared meal. Everyone just brings something. It’s perfectly acceptable, encouraged even, to bring odds and ends of foods that need to get used up. I often bring wedges of cheese that have already been cut into or half a baguette to slice up and toast to dip in hummus. Everyone brings a little something to drink. And it’s a glorious feast.
This kitchen and deck won’t be featured in in Better Homes and Gardens anytime soon, but maybe they should be. They are two of the most hospitable spaces I know. By opening up their home as-is, Dana and John are the most gracious hosts I know. I almost wrote “by opening up their home with its imperfections,” but that’s not accurate. Their home is perfect — just like it is.
What is scruffy hospitality?
On his blog, Father Jack defines scruffy hospitality this way:
Scruffy hospitality means you’re not waiting for everything in your house to be in order before you host and serve friends in your home. Scruffy hospitality means you hunger more for good conversation and serving a simple meal of what you have, not what you don’t have. Scruffy hospitality means you’re more interested in quality conversation than the impression your home or lawn makes. If we only share meals with friends when we’re excellent, we aren’t truly sharing life together.
He encourages people not to allow an unfinished to-do list to stop us from opening our homes to friends and family.
I agree, but here’s the problem. It’s hard to let go of the belief that our homes need to be picture-perfect — or maybe I should say “Pinterest-perfect” — before we can welcome guests. But the idea that we must make our home look un-lived in before having people over stops so many of us from sharing life together.
Continue reading at: http://www.mnn.com/your-home/at-home/blogs/in-priase-scruffy-hospitality
Things I liked and thought about when I was a hippie back in the 1960s look better and better now that I am old.
Most of the ways of living peddled to us by the establishment as a way of exploiting us and taking what little we have seem far worse by comparison.
Special to The Globe and Mail
Tuesday, Oct. 04, 2016
A few years ago, four friends began a conversation: Here we are in our 50s and 60s, still active and (relatively) youthful, but all moving toward the day when we can no longer cling to our cherished independence. Retirement homes seem unappealing, nursing homes a last resort. Why not live together and support each other?
It was casual at first, a bit of a joke. But we kept coming back to it. Finally, a few months ago, we went off for a weekend together to come up with a plan.
We began with our reasons for wanting to consider this seemingly offbeat idea. What attracts us to living together?
First, community. André Picard, among others, has written about the extensive research showing that community is vital to health. Being connected – to family, friends, neighbours, a community group, a running club, a mosque – can add years to your life, studies have found.
Second, a smaller carbon footprint. A smaller home envelope to heat and cool and a shared kitchen with fewer appliances than separate houses mean fewer greenhouse gases.
While affordability is not the key driver of our plan, we do expect living together to be more economical than our current, independent living arrangements.
Gradually, a rough plan came into focus. The house should have a front porch, one of us said (zeroing in on essentials!). It has to be downtown, we all agreed – downtown, walkable and close to transit.
Over the course of our weekend retreat, the conversation took some radical turns. Initially, we had imagined a series of neighbouring condos or other self-contained units, but as we talked further, we found ourselves more drawn to a truly shared space.
We realized, for example, that we want to eat dinner together more often than not. Most of us like to cook, and we all love to eat. So a big common kitchen is essential. We like to discuss stuff – just about any stuff – so we need places for conversation.
We have children and grandchildren, and love to entertain, so a guest suite is an obvious need. A media room. A wine cellar! As the common areas became more central to our discussion, the private areas became smaller. We now imagine each unit (person or couple) having private space of about 600 square feet, designed to suit individual preferences. Naturally, everything will be designed to accommodate “aging in place.”