Tuesday, March 03, 2009

How To Be a Perfect Houseguest at the Bartons

(Dedicated to The Musings, exemplary models.)

1. Arrive late enough on a Friday evening that Mrs. Barton has time to cook up a feast, but not so late that no one can keep his/her eyes open for dinner, and, upon arrival, present Mrs. Barton with all of Dorothy Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane novels.

2. Act as though it's perfectly normal for people to live in a house that might one day collapse from the weight of all the books and that is basically set up to provide as many comfy reading spots as possible.

3. Eagerly accept Dark and Stormys/glasses of Vampire wine as cocktails/dinner drinks.

4. Politely put up with Mrs. Barton's ghost obsession.

5. Despite Mr. Barton's declaration that they're one of the worst foods going, claim to like Brussels sprouts, especially the way Mrs. Barton has prepared them.

6. Be perfectly willing to engage in heated (but never unfriendly -- well, if you don't count constant interruption as "unfriendly") debates with Mr. and Mrs. Barton about religion/philosophy/politics/books/anything else about which everyone can disagree.

7. Claim that the traffic roaring up and down the Lincoln Hwy, which kept the Bartons up every night during the first month they lived here, didn't bother you at all and that you slept beautifully in the comfortable guest bed.

8. Enjoy the Amish sticky buns and six cups of coffee offered as breakfast.

9. Eagerly embark on a 5-mile walk through barren farmland on a blustery, bitterly cold winter's day, even if you don't really have the proper shoes for it (because Mrs. Barton fancies they're the Wordsworths entertaining their brilliant guests in the Lake District or something).

10. Humor Mr. and Mrs. Barton when they insist on dragging you into the Amish bookstore, basically just so Mrs. Barton can drool over all the stationery.

11. Humor Mrs. Barton a second time when, after the 5-mile walk and visit to the bookstore, she must eat now.

12. Contemplate splitting the cost of the world's most perfect ($4500) wooden and leather reading chair, discovered at a quilt shop (of all places) in Intercourse, PA and sharing it (chair spends 6 months a year in CT and six months a year in PA).

13. Be willing to do nothing more than sit around (in your choice of any of the comfy reading spots in the house) and read for a few hours in the afternoon while Mr. Barton finishes writing his sermon.

14. If you are Mr. Musing, allow Mr. and Mrs. Barton to treat you to a birthday dinner at the Lancaster Brewing Company (one of the Bartons' favorite haunts, which Mrs. Barton bets is haunted).

15. Allow yourself to be stalked and attacked by Mr. and Mrs. Barton's cat and still claim "he's such a nice cat."

16. Don't complain when left to fend for yourself on Sunday morning while the Bartons race off to church duties.

17. Promise to come back to visit again.


Charlotte said...

Sounds like a wonderful visit, both for the Musings and for the Bartons.

Anonymous said...

Those really *are* the perfect house guests! Now, did they offer to do the dishes too? That would make them legendary. ;)

Glad you had a nice time together.

Anonymous said...

Awww, what a nice weekend you must all have had! The Amish bookstore sounds exciting. When I come to America may we spend our time there, please?

Heather said...

The Musings are so LUCKY!!!!

ZoesMom said...

Mr/Mrs Barton and Mr/Mrs Musings sound like characters from a Georegette Heyer novel.

Sounds like a truly great weekend!

Emily Barton said...

Charlotte, it WAS a wonderful visit.

NS, yes, offered to help in the kitchen and also stripped the bed.

Litlove, absolutely we can spend time at the Amish bookstore when you come to America (the Bartons will insist).

Heather, so are the Bartons.

ZM, you're right: definitely Georgette Heyer material.

Anonymous said...

Um, I wanna be a houseguest at the Bartons. Damn.

nigel patela said...

I would probably enjoy being stalked by a nice cat.
I'd enjoy the actual attack slightly less.

Rebecca H. said...

Sounds like you had a great time! Everybody should have the chance to be a guest at the Barton's -- well, everyone who's a friend of theirs, I should say -- it's a lovely experience!

Anonymous said...

We had a wonderful time! All very relaxed and easy going with talks, walks, food, drink and reading all in just the right proportion. Except that I possibly overindulged in the Amish cinnamon pecany breakfast foods.
But I must disagree with Dorothy, not everyone should go because then there won't be room for our next visit.

Emily Barton said...

Court, the door is always open.

Nigel, of course, since the stalking is usually very obvious, it's quite easy to get out of the way before the actual attack occurs.

Dorr, thank you! We do love having visitors (but, yes, it helps if they happen to be friends).

MFS, yes, it was a wonderful time. And at least the overindulgence was cinnamon pecany breakfast foods and not mint juleps this time.

Anonymous said...

Oh, what a wonderful time! you sound like a most wonderful hostess. And should I ever be in your neighborhood you must take me to the Amish store so I can drool all over the stationery too. :)

Emily Barton said...

Stef, you'd love the Amish bookstore and the entire wall of stationery ("paper," they call it).