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Thank Goodness There Was Room at the Inn!

Every weekend after Thanksgiving my father’s family gathers together for our own special reunion. We get together as much as possible, but always that weekend. Due to COVID, our Goar Gathering moved to Memorial Weekend 2022. And John and I were the hosts, for the first time in our Grand Cane residence.

I have to admit, we got pretty excited. We’d been bragging about our home town, the friendliness, the hospitality. We’d pretty much told our family that if they’d watched The Andy Griffith Show, then they had a fair glimpse of our everyday life. We may or may not have exaggerated. Although in my opinion, or sheriff rates just as high or higher than Sheriff Andy Taylor—calm, cool, collected, gets things done. So do his deputies.

A group of family members rented a VRBO in Shreveport. With ten people needing a place to rest their heads, no other VRBO’s fit the bill. Besides, my cousin-in-law requires a daily trip to Starbucks. His wife reasoned they could hit one during their thirty-minute trek to our house. No matter that we have a fabulous coffee shop in downtown Grand Cane—Cliff loves his Starbucks frappuccino. To each his own—in our family, we embrace all types of caffeinated beverages. We don’t judge.

My cousin Guy and his wife Katie RSVP’d late, so they missed the VRBO reservation. They lived in Mississippi and had never made the drive to previous Goar Gatherings in Houston, Austin, etc. We all rejoiced that Guy and Katie would be joining us. But they needed a place to stay. Katie said no worries, she had it covered.

Memorial Weekend arrived quickly—don’t the holidays just swoop down upon us? We feasted upon pulled pork tacos and sides, enjoying each other’s company and catching up since the last Goar Gathering. All too soon, 11 p.m. arrived and my family scattered to rest up for the next day.

Saturday morning came, and we gathered at our favorite coffee shop in downtown Grand Cane. Cliff had tossed his contraband beverage, joyfully relinquishing that Yankee coffee and embracing the goodness of local caffeine. Okay, well, that’s how I remember it, anyway. Honestly, if you asked Cliff, he’d probably have a different memory. But I’m the one writing this article, so we’re going with my version.

The Goars gathered, drank caffeine, and confirmed what John and I already knew—small towns really do have a friendly and hospitable vibe. An Andy and Opie vibe, with a pinch of Barney Fife and a dash of Gomer Pyle thrown in for good measure. My extended family celebrated our small town and expressed feelings of jealousy because they lived in big cities like San Antonio, Houston, and Austin. John and I basked in the glow of their praise.

Then Guy and Katie confessed their stay in a local motel had been less than. Less than what? Oh, less than any other place they’d ever stayed…and that included the place that had survived a fire the week before they checked in. Their motel stay the evening before consisted of sketchy people hanging out in the parking lot, a distinct moldy odor throughout their room, and stepping over ripped up carpets and puddles of water in the hallway. Katie was a trooper, but as much as they were paying, they expected quite a bit more than what they got.

I’d passed along the information for Cook-Hill House Bed and Breakfast a couple months before our gathering. But the inn was booked for the weekend, so my family made alternate plans. When Guy and Katie told me of their nightmare motel, I called Kathleen Davis. As with most small towns, Kathleen and I attend church together, and she rents her home from Franklin Properties. John was her landlord, and we were sisters in Christ. We also enjoyed girls’ nights, but that’s another story.

Thank goodness Kathleen had an empty room at the inn! Someone had canceled, which left a place for Guy and Katie. To repeat the praises of my cousins, Kathleen and Cook-Hill House was the absolute best experience they’ve ever had while traveling! And I’m thankful Kathleen took my family from the worst place they’d ever placed their heads to the best. Yes, small towns are such a blessing.