The light hum of the doorbell called me downstairs. Opening the door, I saw him standing there with nothing to offer me but the biggest smile I’d ever seen him wear–the kind that reached his eyes. Internally, I beamed telling myself, I did that.

Taking my hand in his, he told me I looked beautiful. And I knew he meant it as his eyes openly ran a marathon up and down my body (not even trying to be discreet)! Slowly leading me to his car, he opened the passenger door for me before giving me a gentlemanly kiss on the cheek and retreating to the driver’s side.

Upon arrival at his home, a heavenly smell of roasted chicken and lemons welcomed me in. Entering the dining room, I noticed a table fully embellished with a white linen tablecloth, tealight candles floating in water, and pink roses at the center. Soft music played in the background.

He took my coat and pulled out my chair–telling me that he would bring out our dinner in just a moment. Bringing out two crystal glasses, he filled them with cold sweet tea–we were not yet adults to drink wine, but I remember he told me that one day, we would be. He promised another dinner–one that would include wine in the years ahead. Returning from the kitchen, he stood with two plates of chicken franchise in his hands. I stared in adoration and with a happy heart (and stomach). He remembered it was my favorite.

I knew he didn’t know how to cook. He had told me all he ever cooked was cereal, and that did not count as cooking in my book. Did he lie? How in the world did he pull this off?

“My favorite. You remembered. How did you do this? I thought you couldn’t cook, but…?”

“Well, I admit, I may have reached out for some help.”


“My mom. I asked her to teach me how to make this. I wanted it to be special. For you.”

He had done all of this for me. I felt like the most important woman in the world–and I knew, in his, that was what I was becoming.

We enjoyed the rest of the night eating and talking while simply enjoying each other.

The table setting, the food, the flowers, and the candles did not mean so much to me–it was all the effort he put into the night that meant so very much to me. But to be honest, the part I remember most, when looking back, was the smile he gave me and thinking that he was that happy to see me.

No one has ever made me feel more special. That is what hospitality is to me– making your guest feel special.

And today, I can tell you he’s kept his promise…we still have our romantic dinners, now, with wine. 🙂

3 thoughts on “Lasting Impressions Lie in the Little Things: Hospitality at Age 16

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