December is here, and that means guests visiting for the holidays. There are all kinds of guests. Some are great fun while they’re visiting, but afterward their hosts are exhausted. Some guests make you question why you invited them in the first place as soon as they walk in the door. But then there are the ideal guests, those who you’re glad to see from the very beginning until they leave, and then you’re sad they couldn’t stay a little bit longer.
Friday night at Southeast of Saline, Marion High School’s basketball fans and supporters fit squarely into the ideal guest category. From the very beginning, a proud mother who went early to see the junior varsity game made friends with a young girl from Gypsum, even going so far as to share her snacks from the concession stand, while the girl’s father announced the games. I’m sure that on the way home, her dad got to hear all about her new friend.
At halftime of the boys’ varsity game, I went to the concession stand to get some peanut M&Ms. I got to the concession stand just in time to hear the workers tell a child that they were all out of soft pretzels. But before the kid had time to decide what he wanted instead of a pretzel, a Marion school administrator — who apparently put in the order for the last pretzel — told the concessions workers to sell the final pretzel to the kid instead. It’s a small thing, like letting someone have the last piece of your favorite pie, but it was a really nice gesture.
Even after the final game, when most of the fans were piling into their cars, Marion’s fans were impressing the folks at Southeast of Saline. After waiting for a copy of the scorebook, I heard custodians talking about how clean the visitors’ section was after the game: no bottles left behind, no programs left in the bleachers, no candy wrappers, not a scrap of paper for them to pick up.
Imagine having a houseguest that nice — entertaining the kids and keeping them out of your hair while you work on things, saying “No, you take the last slice of pie; I’ll eat something else,” and leaving the place as clean as they found it. Wouldn’t that person be on the top of your list of people to invite for any occasion?
— ADAM STEWART