Thoreau Thursdays (35): Three Chairs, or Welcoming Guests

December 15, 2011

“I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.”
— Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Two chairs for friendship

As much as Thoreau appreciated solitude, he said of himself, “I am naturally no hermit,” and he welcomed visitors.  I admire people for whom hospitality is an ingrained virtue.  Perhaps because I struggle feeling comfortable in large groups and among strangers, I greatly esteem those who can extend a warm welcome to visitors.

“If it were not for guests all houses would be graves.”
— Kahlil Gibran

“The ornaments of your house will be the guests who frequent it.”
— Author unknown

I find that I can take large gatherings, even of beloved family, in small doses.  I am a better friend in one-on-one situations.  I am afraid that the following quotes resonate too well with me:

“Fish and visitors smell after three days.”
— Benjamin Franklin

“Visitors are insatiable devourers of time, and fit only for those who, if they did not visit, would do nothing.”
—  William Cowper

“Hospitality is making your guests feel at home, even if you wish they were.”
— Author unknown

Perhaps I should rid my house of all but three chairs, so that, like Thoreau, when I have visitors in larger numbers, they stay only as long as they can stand!  I’m joking, of course.  One of my tasks in this life is to learn to be more gracious, and this includes making more of an effort to become a better and more welcoming host to any future guests.

“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
— Hebrews 13:2

2 Responses to “Thoreau Thursdays (35): Three Chairs, or Welcoming Guests”

  1. Hallysann Says:

    If I drop round for coffee, how about you can have the rocker, I’ll have the chair, the plant can move to the floor and we can both put our feet up on the stool. 🙂


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