I'm not exactly sure how we got roped into it, but this past weekend we welcomed our third group of nursing students from Liberty University. This time it's three girls, all juniors, who will be with us every other weekend as they do their clinicals at St. Mary's hospital. They arrive on Thursday afternoon and head back to Lynchburg Sunday afternoon.
The guidelines for the program say that we are not to provide them with meals or anything really, except a place to sleep each night. Whoever wrote up these guidelines never met my wife. For Pam, this is like Christmas morning in September. And, I must admit, I love having kids in my house. It goes back to my days in the youth group at my church when every weekend dozens of starving, loud and impossibly energetic teenagers would descend upon my house. Besides, we have three empty bedrooms, so...why not?
Pam doesn't do anything different than normal for the girls. She always cooks hot meals for me every night. Now she just makes those meals for five people rather than two. But, if I was being truthful about the matter I would have to admit that Pam does go out of her way to spoil these kids. She makes up little welcome bags for them their first night. She fixes them a bagged lunch to eat on the way back to Liberty, complete with their name and a smiley face on their bags. This semester we have one girl who is gluten-free, so Pam studied up on how to make sure that she gets gluten-free peach cobbler,( she made a small gluten-free cobbler in a separate bowl ). Part of the reason why she goes to so much trouble is that we have seen over the last couple of years how hard these nursing students work when they are here. They leave the house at 6:30 in the morning and don't get home until after 6 in the evening. Then after dinner, they are up until all hours doing homework and studying.
But the real reason Pam goes all out is that she has this amazing gift of hospitality. Nothing makes my wife happier than being able to pamper guests in our home. She's always the first person to volunteer to house traveling singing groups from church. She always says "YES" whenever anyone asks if anyone might be interested in hosting twenty college students in our home for a meal...even though our house isn't big enough for any such thing. She finds a way to make it work. It's a fascinating thing to behold.
So, this semester it will be Jen, Jessica, and McKenzie. They will all eat every single thing put in front of them and then ask for seconds. They will marvel at all the little things that Pam will do to make them feel totally and completely at home. And, we will be sad when they head back to Liberty for the last time.