From The InnkeepersAugust 2020
When Small Talk Becomes Something Big
“Make visible what without you might perhaps have never been seen”. This quote by Robert Bresson has become more of a deliberate focus for our lives here at the Inn in the time of Covid. When we are fully operational creating a warm, welcoming and hospitable environment for others seems much easier. The power of a hugging embrace, a listening ear, and an open heart makes the kind of visibility that Bresson is speaking of much more tangible. It takes a little more thoughtfulness and creativity on our parts now, to create out of the space between us that type of impactful visibility.
So, part of our Covid plan is to spend some time each day reaching out to friends and family. We have multiple ways of accomplishing this.
1) Taking the time to recover the lost art of greeting card and letter writing by dropping notes in the mail to let someone know we are thinking of them.
2) Sending an email asking how their day is going, and what’s going on for them, or perhaps sharing something meaningful from a book I was reading.
3) Calling on the phone and often engaging in what is considered to be “small talk”. We spend part of each day, sometimes during the time period when groups would otherwise be here, by talking to the members of that group and getting caught up on everything that has been happening to them and their families. Sometimes before we know it the tale of how a spouse’s knee replacement went, or how many of the grandchildren they’ve seen either in person or on Zoom or Facetime, or how their summer gardens are doing with so little rain in most areas and easily an hour or more has quickly passed. This has made us conclude that what is often perceived of as “small talk” can sometimes be a really big thing. Human beings really just need to be heard and we have learned never to underestimate the so-called art of the “small talk”.
4) Sitting on the front porch socially distanced spending an afternoon sharing conversation along with iced tea and cookies, or going out to the picnic pavilion, so they can enjoy the view of the water and the swans, geese, and sandhill cranes or whatever other waterfowl is passing through.
5) Going out for a walk together on our woodland trails so they can see what is happening on the land. Obviously, numbers 4 and 5 are for those who live within an easier driving distance of the inn.
6) My personal favorite however is Chef Sharon’s “Baked Goods to Brighten Your Day” Each week she picks a couple of people and makes a little “Care Package” of cookies and quick bread with a handwritten note about the warm hug coming from us here at the Inn. The reason that this is our personal favorite is because in exchange for helping to get the boxes packed and ready for the post office Pat and I get to be the official taste testers of all the different types of cookies to make sure they are up to the high standards of the Inn’s kitchen.
These are just a few things, small acts of caring really, but these small acts are laden with the huge potential to impact the quality of another person’s day. We encourage you in this time when we have more time, to find your own safe ways to extend yourself to others.
We are still looking forward to the day when we will be safely able to welcome you into our home, and your home when you are here with us. At this time we still choose to remain closed, as the number of new Covid cases seems to be move like a yoyo. Just when you think the downward trend may be here to stay, there is a new outbreak in Michigan and our daily average increases again. We will continue to keep contact with each group and see how things are closer to the time that you are scheduled to be here. In the meantime stay safe, be well in body and soul. We appreciate the friendship that you continue to extend to us and we hope to continue to be part of your lives for many years to come.
Marcia, Pat and Sharon