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Do You Believe in a "Hospitality Gene"?

One of the most genuinely hospitable people I know is my good friend, June. She turns 5 this August and reminds me every time I’m with her that there is indeed such a thing as a hospitality gene. Am pretty sure it was passed down to her by her grandparents, who are our next-door neighbors.

Nancy Mendelson

June was 3 when she first welcomed me into her life--I say “welcomed” because that’s what June does instinctively…and her effect on the neighborhood when she comes to visit is nothing short of transformational.

Often the first person to say hello, June has a way of making people of any age feel special, and I can’t help but think of the lyrics to the Mary Tyler Moore theme song whenever I witness her working her magic: “Who can turn the world on with her smile? Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?”

nancy mendelson

Last summer while I was outside waiting for some houseguests to arrive, June came over to keep me company. My husband’s cardiologist, his wife – also a doctor—and their 2 teenage sons drove up after an exhausting journey, when no sooner did they get out of the car than June excitedly greeted them with, “Hi, I’m June, what’s your name?” After telling her their names, she continued with, “Come on guys, I’ll show you around the house.” She hadn’t yet turned 4.

Whatever exhaustion our guests had felt melted away and was quickly replaced by ear-to-ear smiles. As they followed June into our house, she introduced them to our cats, then took them on a tour, winding up at the guestroom…” and this will be your room,” she gleefully shared.

OK, let me just say that, although June spends a good amount of time with us, both my and my husband’s minds were blown by how intuitively June understood how to make people feel welcome and comfortable in our home…as she would in her own or her grandparent’s home, for that matter.

True hospitality consists of giving the best of yourself to your guest –– Eleanor Roosevelt

But June’s entire family is hospitable. Hell, even her grandparent’s bulldog Eleanor knows how to make people feel…special. Named for another great Eleanor, I feel it only appropriate to leave you with this quote: “True hospitality consists of giving the best of yourself to your guest.” Thank you for that, Eleanor Roosevelt…and thank you June!


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