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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Hospitality (02/07/05)

TITLE: A GLIMPSE OF ANCIENT HOSPITALITY
By Theresa Knight
02/13/05


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It was spring, the temperature was pleasant from the warmth of the bright sun, and the azure color of the sky was magnificent to behold. As Norah collected the dry laundry from the sun dried brick roof, she grasped how invigorated the climate made her feel. Winter had been extremely cold and gray, and for her this beautiful day was a breath of fresh air.

Quickly she scampered down the stairs, stopping to check on the children and animals in the covered courtyard. Not surprised, she heard the music and laughter of the children gleefully at play. They were dancing and singing and sometimes shouting,” Look and me dance!” or, “It’s my turn to play the flute!” Smiling, away she went to put away the laundry. Norah was so proud that her two children, Anna and Jonathan, got along well with others, and wants them to be good at hosting guests.

After putting away the laundry, she cast her eyes on the shadow clock. Calculating the approximate time by the length of the shadow cast by the sun on its tiny steps, she realized it was time to start the evening meal.

While cooking in the kitchen, Norah looked out one of the three windows in the house. Seeing a young couple and their child, she understood that there would be guests for the evening. She and her husband Amos stopped their work to greet the arriving family. Jacob, Lydia, and their daughter Deborah had journeyed about twenty miles and sure enough, they needed a place to stay for the night. There was no Inn in the area. As usual, Norah and Amos were eager to hear all about their visitors and the stories they had to tell.

After getting acquitted with the guests, Norah went into the kitchen to finish preparing dinner. When Anna and Jonathan had finished playing and washed their hands, Amos politely introduced them to the travelers. A short time later, Norah called everyone to a meal of lentil stew, bread, olives, and wine. Fresh fruit was served for dessert.

Both the food and conversation were superb and relaxing. While the men were still deep in conversation, Lydia put the baby down for the night, and Norah cleared off the table and washed the dishes. Upon Lydia’s return, the host and hostess did what was customary. They washed Jacob and Lydia’s feet. That had been a custom and an expectation for as long as they could remember.

Soon the evening came to an end, and all were ready to get a good night’s sleep. Norah and Lydia retrieved the linens for the bed, which was a platform with cushions that also served as a couch.

At sunrise, everyone awoke to see the start of the new day. Norah prepared and served a breakfast of bread, honey, grapes and goat’s milk. The conversation was centered on Jacob, Lydia and Deborah’s final ten miles back home. Before long, they collected their belongings, and thanked the host and hostess for the food and lodging.

There was much that needed to be done that new day. Norah began with washing the breakfast dishes.


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This article has been read 646 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Theresa Knight02/14/05
Oops! I did not proof read good enough. The word acquitted should be acquainted.
donna robinson02/14/05
That's okay! I liked the way you captured what the customs and spirit was in those long ago times.
L.M. Lee02/15/05
pleasant story to read and relax with!