3/29/07

German Hospitality

I met Dee Gist last summer in Denver and we hit it off right away. We had a few good laughs and I loved her spunk and zest for life. Dee and I are fellow-Bethany House authors, with her latest book, Courting Trouble, which is coming out in June.

Dee writes with natural humor and she has a wonderful ear for dialogue. Her first two books have been on several bestseller lists. A Bride Most Begrudging won the coveted Christy Award (named after author Catherine Marshall’s heroine Christy), and Measure of a Lady has just been nominated for a prestigious RITA award by the Romance Writers of America. I have no doubt that her third book will follow suit.

I asked Dee if she would share a fun hospitality story. So here's her story:

As a college kid, my roommate and I backpacked across Europe. I will never forget the gracious hospitality of a German woman who ran a bed-and-breakfast in Bacharach on the Rhine River. My roommate and I had not showered in days, had run out of clean clothes and had been turned away from the youth hostel because they were full.

The German couple who owned a corner store welcomed us into their home. Neither my roommate nor I spoke any German and our hostess didn’t speak any English. You should have seen us trying to pantomime a washing machine! Once she understood, she communicated she didn’t wash clothes. We tried to assure her that *we* would wash our own clothes, if she’d just tell us where a laundromat was.

I’m not sure the woman was able to comprehend much more than how desperate we were to be clean. Taking pity on us, she asked us for our laundry and disappeared. We assumed she was going to drop them off at the Laundromat. We returned that evening to find our clothes hanging on a series of clotheslines crisscrossing her attic. We were so humbled. Not only because *she* washed our clothes for us, but because she wouldn’t take any money for it and because we’d never had our clothes line-dried before!

Come bedtime, she prepared to make our bed, but we wouldn’t hear of it. She’d done enough already. We insisted on doing it ourselves, only discovering later that we couldn’t figure out how to do it. (She gave us a duvet and neither one of us had ever seen one before.) When she woke us up for breakfast the next morning, she was horrified to see we’d slept on top of the duvet cover and underneath the naked-duvet.

Still, she spread out a fabulous German breakfast for us and we gobbled it up--having long been on a diet of crackers and cheese (as it was all we could afford).

Funny how colored my perception of Germany was before that. I’d always thought of Germans like they were portrayed on TV: harsh and stern. (Kind of like some people think all us Texans have oil wells in our backyards and ride horses everywhere.) Anyway, I can tell you I think of Germany and their people with great fondness now. They are an extremely giving and gracious people who live in a breathtakingly beautiful country. I will always cherish my time there.


Thanks, Dee! What a neat story! If anyone wants to check out Dee's blog, you can go here.

10 comments:

momrn2 said...

What a very fun story! I can only imagine the gratitude they must have felt being treated in such a way... and finally being clean! :-)

Barb said...

Clean is always good! Miz Dee's books are such great reads too. And she's had such an interesting life! How great to be in a foreign country and have someone who doesn't even speak your language treat you so generously!

Deeanne said...

Oh, I love this pic of us, Sandy! Thanks for including me in your Hospitality Highlights!

Jenster said...

Hi Sandy! I followed you over from Dee's and I think I'm gonna stay a while. :o)

That's a great story! What a wonderful experience.

I do have a question. Is there some written or even unwritten rule at Bethany House that says their authors have to be so pretty? Just curious. :o)

Nadine said...

It is a nice picture of the both of you. Thank you for sharing her story...how sweet.

Julie said...

I really enjoyed your "Guest Speaker" today! What a great story.

My sister in law has lived in Germany for 27 years (she works for the Dept. of Defense).

P.S. Got any spare pear bread? *wink-wink*

Barb said...

Pretty and handsome at BH, Jenster! I'm reading a novel set in Scotland in which the comment is made that in Scotland the word "guests" is used, compared to the US, where we use the word "company." Twas an interesting distinction.

Joy said...

My hubby is German! Great story :)

Denise said...

Hi Sandy, I've just come across your blog and really enjoyed reading it. I just missed your free draw, I love the idea of it. It's motivated me to send a package to my best friend. We're both from England, but she lives in Tucson now and I live in TX!
Have a wonderful weekend.
Hugs Denise

Rachelle said...

What a wonderful story! And a fantastic photo -- you and Dee both look so beautiful and happy. (P.S. Next time you're going to be in Colorado, you must let me know in advance!)