A very berry guest.


Being a good guest is imperative unless you don’t wish to be asked back.

Among most of my friends the custom of showing up with a host or hostess gift is alive and well. Some may consider it quaint. Perhaps it is old-world, as I cannot say where it started, the practice of giving a token of appreciation for an invitation to a dinner party, cocktail party or holiday gathering. Can you?

I may run late scrambling to find a gift bag or a bit of ribbon, but showing up empty handed when someone has invited you to their house? Unacceptable. I did it once last year. Still pains me to think of it.

Oregon is known for Marionberries, a blackberry named for the county in which it was developed. Safe to say Salem, Oregon is the home of the Marionberry; 90% of the world’s production is grown near Oregon’s capital city. Read more at http://www.oregon-berries.com/

Failing to stop by Little Green Grocer in my neighborhood rushing to leave town, I stopped instead at the PDX airport gift shop after clearing security check points, loaded my briefcase with a deluxe hostess gift pack of Marionberry jam and boarded my flight to Kansas City. In the town where supposedly “everything is up-to-date,” the airport layout is a bit odd. It’s not uncommon in Kansas City to deplane, leave your arrival gate, walk to your next gate down the concourse and have to go through security, again. Check points are at every few gates instead of the entrance to main concourses.

Can you guess what happened?

“Madame, did you realize you are carrying more than 4 ounces of this product? We cannot let you board the plane with it,” said the security officer with, I swear, a trace of thought-you’d-get-this-past-us” attitude.

I was too dumbfounded to protest. The jam was confiscated! I only hoped Kim Smith, my Tulsa hostess and Kansas City native, would find the story plausible and humorous. Her hostess gift joined many other jars of jam in the plastic tub at the security officer’s post. “Someone should warn shoppers in PDX,” I thought to myself, that day and every day since that I’ve passed the airport gift shop.

In addition to gourmet delicacies, a bottle of wine or flowers are welcome gifts. It’s good advice to take into account the host’s variety preferences and house color scheme. My friend Steve Domreis bought me white tulips before a dinner party – something I never would have bought myself but an exquisite addition to our décor of rich golds and reds.

Mary Hinckley arrived at brunch one Sunday with a bag of gourmet granola. I enjoyed it many times with pear yogurt at breakfast for nearly a month and thought of her each and every time.

During my last visit to Tulsa artist Matt Moffett presented, our lunch hostess Jennifer Palmer with a delightful homemade music CD. He had one for me, too. Today, in shorts and tennies with the stereo cranked up, I did the “swim” to a magical mix of Petula Clark oldies. In doing so I remembered the many laughs we’d had over a yummy lunch on a sunny Friday afternoon.  And this is the reason I shop at Trader’s Joe for canned tuna for Sarah Graves, another hostess with the mostess.

I think it is a joy and privilege to acknowledge each invitation with a thoughtful  gift. What are some you’ve especially enjoyed giving or receiving?  Yours, Trix

4 Responses to “A very berry guest.”

  • Sarah B. Graves Says:

    You are truly amazing! I am still not on Facebook and probably won’t be and blogging is also a new concept but to ready what you write is like reading fine prose/poetry and I admire your gift! I have been out of town and back for a brief time before I head to Florida to help Julie Hunter drive back after 2 months on Anna Maria Island. I saw Jennifer Palmer and her husband at the Salvation Army event with Bill O’Rielly Saturday nite…..she is soooo beautiful! April is just not going to work for me this time for WAFAL as during the short time I am here I am hosting a bridal shower one evening and a baby shower a few days later. I LOVE MY TUNA but you know you really don’t need to do this……you do realize the most recent “stocking” you brought you didn’t even make it inside the back door, let alone attend a party here! Love your blog, the photos, the text. You most definately have a gift Ms. Tracey. Talk to you soon. Fondly, Sarah

  • Mary Says:

    Hello Tracey, I love your blog. You are observant, thoughtful, humorous and a downright great writer and photographer.
    I agree about the hostess gifts; everyone enjoys and appreciates a treat and acknowledgement of their effort and hospitality. A nice gift is a bottle of wine, chocolate, a book or a tasty duo of olive oil and vinegar . If you don’t bring it along, sending or dropping off a gift afterwards works as well. I sound a bit like Miss Manners. Pardon! Love to you.

  • Sue Stees Says:

    Beautifully written and so true….I like to bring my herbal vinegar; Tom always brings wine. Some good friends always bring us CDs that are fun. I remember receiving wine and flowers from you through the years! It is always the gesture that is special.

  • Matt Moffett Says:

    Tracey- you made my afternoon with your blog! Glad you are enjoying your pet therapy!


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