A piece of our hearts

Published 3:57 am Wednesday, August 23, 2017

With all the interest in the total eclipse, people have been coming out of the woodwork to the B&B. This area of Tennessee will have approximately one minute of almost total darkness in just a few minutes, actually.

One of my favorite things about working here is interacting with the guests, and watching them get to know one another. It is also awesome to observe the visitors making friends with the animals on the property.

City dwellers, especially, love the horses and dogs wandering around at will. A man from Chicago this week had his first experience with a horse and was totally charmed. He sheepishly explained that he had never had a chance to be around horses before and always had a fear of them. After feeding one of the friendly four legged ladies an apple the smile on his face was worth a trip to Tennessee.

This morning, the B&B and the three cabins on sight were all bursting with people. I must admit the thought of breakfast for 21 was a little intimidating. Last night I almost gave in to worry, but pushed my anxious thoughts away and slept soundly.

Relief filled my heart, however, when two of my guests decided to skip breakfast, grab a quick cup of coffee, and head out to find the perfect spot for eclipse viewing. Soon my Canadian guests half stumbled into the still messy kitchen for their first cup of java.

Before I knew it, the hot stove was surrounded by people in various states of bedhead looking for conversation, coffee, and breakfast, mostly in that order. It seemed so natural, almost like a family gathering. In looking back I realize what a special gathering it really was … a gathering of the human family.

I had been concerned for nothing. Everyone ate in stages and patiently waited on whatever was running low. Three young ladies from one of the cabins came in looking for something yummy. I was relieved that we still had plenty of baked apples, oatmeal, and scrambled eggs especially when I found out they were vegetarians.

One of the couples said goodbye and unobtrusively slipped me a twenty. I tucked it under the microwave thinking how sweet that was since they had only been here for one night. When I finally figured out one of the fellows looked like someone I had taught in Sunday school who made a preacher, I told him so. His sweet wife laughed and exclaimed, “I wish we could stay longer so you could work on him because a preacher he isn’t!”

I cooked and served and laughed and hugged until the last guest rolled their luggage to their vehicle. As I stood waving goodbye from the plate glass window overlooking the meadow, I thought about all the wonderful people I had been blessed to meet this week.

As some continue on their travels and some head home, I take a moment to realize that our paths may never cross again, but for a moment we shared food and laughter and a little piece of our hearts.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at lilsisjan@yahoo.com.