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Posted Tuesday, May 26, 2009, at 9:12 AM

My mother has a story of uninvited guests that visited her family when she was a girl. The story goes that Sunday dinner was more often than not interrupted by specific uninvited visitors showing up just in time for the customary fried chicken. Now as I recall the story, my grandmother was a good sport about this for quite a while and the people were always asked to stay for dinner instead of being rushed out the door.

Now I really don't know how long this went on, but I guess grandma got tired of the uninvited guests showing up on such a regular basis that she devised a plan. After dinner, but before the "guests" left as was their custom after eating, grandma put the dirty dishes on the porch for the dog to lick clean. Still before the guests could leave, the plates were neatly stacked and placed back in the cupboard. It is my understanding that the guests stopped showing up for dinner uninvited ever after.

What brings this story to mind is that over the weekend, one of our neighbors from church "invited" us to stop by and meet a family relative at another of their relatives house nearby. Now while it is true that we're neighbors of the people who own the place we were (un)invited to, we were not invited by those folks to come visit, so I felt pretty strange just dropping by a family get together of someones family being invited by a somebody that doesn't live in the place we were being invited to.

Margie and I hemmed and hawed about going at all, and finally decided that we would call first so we just didn't appear at the door for no apparent reason, and make sure it was OK to stop by. Well, there was a reason really for us to drop by, you see one of the guests at the house had previously stated that they wanted to meet the folks that live on the hill near where they had grown up and had even participated in a barn dance there when she was young (me and Margie).

To make the story a lot shorter, I'll just say that we were welcomed and had a great visit with Carolyn and Don from Kansas and the rest of their assembled family. We had been invited there for dinner before and told to stop by anytime, and we were told again to stop by anytime! Though I always get caught off guard with a statement like that as city folk never make that statement, I hope those folks know they have the same drop by anytime invite at our place. Life is a lot different around here!

Now to be sure, the folks owning the place we visited have been very friendly to us since we moved in, but I will always remember my mom's story of the dog and uninvited guests, and just dropping by someones house probably won't happen often, especially at dinner time.

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Hey Slicker,

True story from Wyoming's frontier days.

Two old nesters had carved themselves a viable working ranch north of Shirley Basin.

Them comes word their sisters from Boston were coming to visit.

Sure enough, the very proper Beacon Hill ladies arrived and endured the six hour spring buggy ride to the log and sod ranch home in good spirits.

After they had rested and freshened themselves the brothers served a great venison roast dinner, with sourdough, wild honey and a nice fireplace setting.

One sister was a trifle curious about the metal plates being nailed to the table, but was assured the plates were just as clean as soap and water could get them.

After dinner, when everything cleared away and the sisters comfortable by the fireplace, expecting a nice long family talk -- The younger brother walked to the door and called,

"Here Soap, Here Water!"

Two huge shaggy dogs charged in, leaped on the table and proceeded to lick every plate clean.

The sisters suddenly remembered urgent business in Boston.

As soon as the stage left Shirley Basin, the brothers bought rounds for everyone and told their tale repeatedly.

And all it cost them was four new metal plates.

Of course, being thrifty, they saved the original plates with holes in them -- just in case.

-- Posted by HerndonHank on Tue, May 26, 2009, at 8:47 PM

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