Using What We’ve Got for Others, or Jim Haynes’ Hospitality

A couple of posts ago I was ruminating, in “What Have I Got, Really?” about resources that we have and what we do with them.

And an article/recording I ran across this week on NPR made me think about it further:

Jim Haynes lives in Paris and has an open invitation to dinner at his home every week.  He’s had more than 100,000 people drop in for dinner at his Sunday salons in his atelier.  He has about 50 guests per week (twice as many when the weather is good and the garden is an option).

“If I had my way, I’d introduce everybody in the world to each other,” Haynes says.  And I think he means it.  

He talks about having a good memory, and how he uses it to remember the name, hometown and profession of each person who makes a reservation to come (a simple phone all or email reserves a first-come, first served spot) so that he can introduce people. 

And that’s what got me thinking about this topic of using the resources we have for others.  His memory isn’t just keeping him sharp at Scrabble, or helping him remember the phone number of friends, or whatever else he needs for his own comfort.  It’s serving others in the most amazing act of hospitality I’ve heard of.

I found this article because my son sent it to me, saying, “Mom, this is what you always wanted to do.”  And he’s right.  I did.  But I haven’t done it cause I’ve spent too much time wondering, “What if really boring people wouldn’t stop talking?  or wouldn’t leave?”  Or wondering “How would I get all those dishes done?” or “What if no one wanted to come?” or  “What if it bugged my neighbors?” or “What if someone was violent or unkind or ….”  You get the picture.

I wanted to offer hospitality, but hospitality with guarantees, or control, or limits.

So Jim Haynes is a hero of mine.  But how would I start small in emulating him?  Ideas?


One response to “Using What We’ve Got for Others, or Jim Haynes’ Hospitality

  1. I think you’re already on your way! Anytime we’re near D.C. (or a friend is near there), the first thing I tell them is that a stop at the Umhau’s is a necessity. There aren’t many places in the world I feel so welcome. Have you check Maybe a place to check out and start with…

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