Dear Annie: My husband and I are 77 years old. Our lake home has four bedrooms and plenty of space for family visits. During the summer, the family knows they have to make “reservations” to visit. Sometimes, we will have seven immediate family members here, and once we had 18 nephews and nieces and their families. They have use of our boats and always replace the gas they used. We feel fortunate that we can allow them to have a family vacation that is relatively inexpensive for them. Many have thanked us for the memories they have made over the past 20 years.
However, we plan several breakfasts and lunches and most evening meals. All but one family will bring extra food, including snacks and their own drinks (we never know what everyone wants). Some will cook an evening meal for us while they are here. All groups will treat us to an evening meal at a local restaurant. One family also leaves us gift certificates to local businesses. We do ask that they change the beds before they leave for the next group of visitors. All willingly do this.
We never expect all the help, but it is greatly appreciated. When one adds up the cost of extra food, disposable cups and plates and utilities for 10 weeks a year, it can be expensive.
Over the years, we have learned there are two kinds of guests: visitors and vacationers. Visitors come to see us, enjoy the lake and surroundings and help in any way they can to make their visit easier and more enjoyable for us. Vacationers are those who come to our “hotel” and restaurant and expect to be waited on while they are here. Needless to say, we don’t have “vacationers” more than once.
— Visitors and Vacationers
Dear Visitors and Vacationers: I love your classification of guests as visitors and vacationers. I would take it a step farther and say that most people fall into two categories — those who are considerate of others and how they are feeling, and those who have a sense of entitlement and a lack of gratitude.
Want to know a secret? The considerate ones, the visitors, are happier people.
Where to write: Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.