After two days of driving south on the highways of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, Andy and I arrived at our Memphis house at 2 PM Monday afternoon in our dirty, red Toyota and a 26-foot Budget rental truck. (It had been nineteen months since we had pulled away from the house in a similar rig heading north). At 6PM fourteen friends arrived and unloaded the entire truck in an hour and a half. Two friends in the group cleared a space in the box-laden kitchen and spread a feast of homemade barbecue and baked beans.Two other friends marched up the front steps with a five-foot Welcome Home banner and sang There Shall Be Showers of Blessings. It was a glorious homecoming welcome–an example of the incomparable hospitality of the South.
But wait! Last Saturday as we packed up to leave Grosse Pointe, MI, fourteen friends showed up at the parsonage/rectory to help load the moving van. That evening a couple hosted a fettuccine alfredo dinner for all of the people who had risked back injury to drag our boxes and furniture onto the truck. The next morning after Sunday services, the Christ Church congregation hosted a reception for us. They gave us a beautiful cross tile from Pewabic Pottery (a Detroit institution). Parishioners stood in line to write in a remembrance book for us. It was a glorious homeleaving–an example of the incomparable hospitality of the North.
I guess hospitality is not the exclusive property of one region of the country. “Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another,” says the writer of 1Peter 4:9. I have a mental picture of our Northern and Southern friends tramping up and down the truck ramp with arms full of MacBeth stuff. They expedited a tedious job with ungrudging, even playful hospitality.