The Mysterious Delight of Good Hospitality

June 2-4, 2016

Late our first evening, we hit the Mellow Mushroom for dinner. We sat at a wobbly table. Our waiter, a young college guy, looked as mellow as a place called the Mellow Mushroom would want. He didn’t write anything down, didn’t seem to be working at all, but rather just hanging out. For every request, he answered “Sure.” It was a calming experience after a long drive to Wilmington.

At The Cape Fear Seafood Company, our waitress was around my age with blonde hair and an easy Southern smile. I ordered shrimp-n-grits and roasted red pepper crab soup - two of her faves. A different lady who delivered it said the same thing. Our waitress ogled my beachy phone case, and started a whole conversation with me about it. Where’d I get it? How’d I like it? She ended it with, “Glad I saw that” because she wanted one just like it.

At Fish Bites, our long time favorite beach restaurant, our waiter was a young guy with wispy blonde hair pulled back. He wore glasses and an easy-going smile. Every time he left us, he gave us the two-fingered surfer’s gesture. He told us that he moved here in high school, and though he didn’t say either way, it seemed to suit him.

Our drinks never ran empty. Conversation, if we wanted, always ran freely. And smiles were plentiful.

During our adventures, we popped into a Taco Bell for a snack and some drinks. Our cashier was a lovely black girl, young. She smiled at us - YES, SHE SMILED - and she praised our choice to get some Cinnabon donut hole things.

“We just made some up,” she said. “They’re fresh!”

On the wall by the door, there was a bell to ring if service was good. Abby rang it.

“Aw, thank you!” the young girl cooed.

I couldn’t remember the last good experience I’d had at a restaurant, let alone three in a row! I certainly couldn’t remember the last time any fast food worker smiled and talked to me like a real human being, like she didn’t mind being there! Perhaps I’m jaded. Maybe I just don’t get out enough. I’m sure it wasn’t the town that made the difference, necessarily. We just needed it. We needed good hospitality, and these guys picked up on that, I think. It was all a great mystery! For all that we were going through, a good, relaxing meal with pleasant interactions just meant the world to us. Our cups runneth over.

“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

1 Peter 4:9