Twice a guest and now a good friend. I call him Sir Kev.
So. Sir Kev calls me today to get a few things straight. We’re planning on a couple of days together this summer — wine tasting and bouncing around the Columbia River Gorge — so there’s the logistics, the chit-chat, and the catching up. Our time zones are misaligned and we don’t text, so the simplest tasks require old-fashioned phone calls.
Sir Kev says he’s been reading the blog recently and has been impressed with the high caliber of clientele. “Damn fine people you’re collecting there, Curt. Been reading the descriptions and I doubt I’d get a room now if I were coming in over the transom. Me? For the first time? No, don’t think so. I don’t think you’d let a guy like me in the place.”
“Upper crust, Curt. Real upper crust. Truly, I don’t think I’d get a room at your bnb. No way. Me and the lady? We’d be in the tool shed on a couple of cots.”
The thing with Sir Kev is I never know when he’s kidding. So first I tell him the tool shed is where I put all the best people. But since I never know when he’s kidding, I can’t be sure he knows when I’m kidding.
We didn’t have a lot of time to parse the humor so I told my friend a few factoids about the bnb biz. To get his mind straight. Make him understand that the “Amazing and Awesome A listers” as he calls them, appear to me (and to themselves I am sure) as regular folk. I tell Sir Kev not to build a wall (not even a moat) around bnb Hiouchi that he or anyone else of mild disposition couldn’t hoist themselves over. SIR KEV, I bellowed. Finding good people out there is easy; this fully functional, witty, intelligent, multilingual, and occasionally even preternaturally gifted cast of characters find me! I don’t even go looking anymore!
Kev would hear nothing of it. He was sure he’d been outclassed by the A list. Then I reminded him of the Z list. How even if he didn’t make it to the A’s, I was pretty sure he qualified for at least the G or H list (and further reminded him I often boarded guests as far down as the L list!). In other words, he had nothing to worry about.
The Z list?, he rebounded! I reminded Sir K. of the time I locked myself and lady Meg in the upstairs bedroom while a vulgar pair of miscreants romped in the lower suite. I don’t know why I booked them, knowing so clearly something in their telephone banter was amiss. “Take my grandmother’s porcelain you two, I don’t care. Just don’t hurt the dog, or us. Please, be reasonable.” Or the time I needed to call a plumber to unravel the hairballs built up over the course of three nights and (obviously) multiple grimy baths. What a mess. Or the night a guest snuck a dog into their room. Oh god, I will spare you the details.
I wanted to convince Sir Kev that the A-list was not such a distant and unreachable spot in the sea of bnb aspirants. That’s always been my little secret. The A listers are out there and you can call yourself one if you play by the rules (rules of nature, or kindness, of holism, of trustworthiness, of openness). A listing is not that difficult!
But I have another secret. Some A listers are different, are more A than others. This past week — through a difficult two weeks with mascot Molly — I swear something effervescent in the air or water surfaced in the people that stayed with me. That’s my secret. I’m still trying to understand theirs. And when I do, Sir Kev, I will share.
The latest but not the last A list additions are as follows:
Brady and Eileen: Canadians with a sense of adventure. Visiting friends nearby, they scooted south to the Klamath and the Smith. They must have really wanted to stay at the bnb, working to land a one-night stay. Quick in and quick out but full of love for Molly (we did a group hug for the gal who was feeling off her game) — and they even like people, too!
Carol and Huntley: It always shocks me to see families who travel well together. And even with just one night to show for it it is clear, these two (mother, daughter) do exactly that. I was blown away by their openness, friendliness, willingness to share, their curiosity. There was not enough time at the breakfast table with Tom and Sue. Politics, science, career, biology, transportation, finance…we covered many topics but left more to the next time we all meet.
Jerry and Nancy: Another instance where we crammed in a lot of conversation and a lot of heart into one slender evening. On their way to see a preforming daughter nearby, we delved into life, love, home, even a bit of real estate strategy. We played a proper version of 20 questions and by the time we said good bye the next morning, could almost smell the coffee brewing at their place down south. Keep a light on for us, please!
Tom and Sue: A soft spot I have for midwesterners, and it got softer with this former titan of industry and his wife, a former master of finance. Now retired, they travel, spread good vibrations, soak up the local culture, and share their own brand of culture with those they touch. Entirely self-sufficient, they might have been retired but were not retiring. Shine on, Tom and Sue!
Sandy and David: I think these two will always be small town folk, but they sprinkle their references and passions with sophisticated, far-flung, and big-city experiences and tastes. They’ve certainly been to more broadway shows then me, and dined at more Manhattan eateries. And yet, they are very casual and kind. And tricky…that’s David (x3) in the photo at the top of the post. Interesting take on reality, kids! True, I may never understand the south but I will always like it. Thanks for reminding me.
As for Sir Kev? Might he fit in with this eclectic line-up of A listers? I guess I’ll have to see how he handles his wine.