SHOW NOTES & TRANSCRIPT
the loudest holiday of the year--
Welcome, weary travelers, to The Inn Between. Join Gabriela Jones, a recent botany undergrad, in her new job as Innkeeper near the rural town of Shearwater.
New episodes bi-weekly on the quarter moon. Written and read by Bailey Loveless
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Special thanks to local poet and woodcrafter, Chris Kleinfelter for letting me read his poem “Buzzing Well.” Chris has been writing college for the last 30 years since he returned to college at age 40, which brought out his love for writing. After winning a poetry award in Thoughts Beyond Insanity, the campus literary journal, he has been writing ever since. His work has been featured in Harrisburg Review, The Villager, Tidepools Magazine, Sixfold Poetry Summer 2020, and Corona Global Lockdown as well as the Olympic Peninsula Writers Association 2022 anthology. You can find more of his work on his poetry blog poetinplace.com, his other prose blogs Adventures in Antiquing or Seward Adventures, or his YouTube channel. When he is not squeezing words into poems, he spends his time woodworking. Thanks for working with me, Chris!
Read guestbook submission guidelines here
LAND ACKNOWLEDGMENT: This podcast is inspired by and recorded on the Indigenous lands of the Coast Salish people of the Pacific Northwest. We celebrate and honor these ancestral lands and their stewards--past, present, and future.
THEME MUSIC: Yonder Dale / Tiny Surprises / courtesy of www.epidemicsound.com
Welcome, weary travelers, my name is Gabriela Jones, the new innkeeper of The Inn Between, where the trees are green, the rooms are cozy, and the guests are only sometimes a little bit rude. Whether you’re listening for the first time or have been here before, come on in and prop up your feet-metaphorically speaking of course—and pour yourself a cup of coffee.
In my short time as innkeeper, I’ve seen that most folks are kind. They’re respectful, they follow the rules, and even if they’re having a hard day, they can be softened with a smile or a few moments to calm down. But there are a few people who no matter how nice you are or how helpful you try to be, they do not see you and they will always leave a mess for you to pick up.
The recent holiday weekend brought more guests, as expected, but I had a rare last-minute opening on account of illness, making available the Three Head Room right between mine and the bathroom on the night of Independence Day, of all times. Fortunately or unfortunately, I had already cleaned that room by the time a self-check-in-group came crashing in later that night.
I was in my room when up the stairs came heavy stomping then the slamming of the door that shook the wall between us. The adjacent room roared with obvious revelry, with snorting and squealing and uproarious laughter. Not wanting to be a downer, I was willing to let this go on for several minutes. But it continued with no sign of settling down and I felt that I ought to do something.
I came out into the hall. The Do Not Disturb sign had already been placed on the handle of the guest’s door and Mrs. Carol’s voice flashed into my mind, reminding me not to disturb the self-check-in guests. But surely this didn’t apply if they were disturbing me and everyone else in the house?
I decided to politely remind them that there were other people present.
“Innkeeping,” I said, tapping lightly on the door.
There was no answer and the noise continued.
“Innkeeping!” I repeated, knocking harder.
The volume of the noise briefly lowered as someone inside shouted, “Oh my gosh, who is it? Is that housekeeping?”
Now yes, friends, family, and gentlefolk, housekeeping is part of my responsibilities and there’s nothing wrong with being a housekeeper. However, I don’t think the guest inside shared that same opinion. Unfortunately, in my humble experience, I find that some people don’t always give service workers the respect they deserve as human beings.
Still, I did my best to smile and sound friendly and said, “This is the Innkeeper. As a gentle reminder quiet hours start in five minutes, but can I get you anything to make your stay more comfortable?”
“When will the lights in the sky start?!” someone else yelled.
“The Shearwater Fourth of July fireworks should begin any minute,” I said. “You can see them from your window…or outside on the lawn,” I added for good measure, hoping they might get the hint.
Another voice said, “Bring us some teacups!”
“Sure,” I said. “Happy to do that for you.”
As I walked away down the hall, a roar of laughter followed me. It still hadn’t subsided when I returned back upstairs, teacups in hand.
“Just leave them outside and leave us alone,” said a voice after I had knocked several times.
I didn’t appreciate being spoken to in this manner, and were it not for Mrs. Carol’s voice popping into my voice, once again reminding me of the third rule, I might have said as much. Gritting my teeth, I whispered goodbye to the teacups as I feared for their safety and then returned to my room.
The fireworks show over Shearwater began shortly after, echoing booms rattling off the mountains. My loud guests next door cheered wildly with each explosion in the sky.
Fireworks are not my cup of coffee. While nice to look at, I find them loud and noisy and frankly responsible for too many wildfires. But I am fond of all the summer wildflowers that have been exploding like firecrackers everywhere as of late. Among my favorites is Camassia quamash, also known as the Indian hyacinth. It is related to the asparagus and it grows long stalks with clusters of beautiful dark blue petals. It loves to spread across meadows and has turned whole parts of the yard a lovely violet-blue. Certain native tribes also used this plant in their traditional diets, and for the record, it tastes a little bit like a potato when cooked. One of my favorite things is watching the bumblebees and the hummingbirds flit in and out of the flowers as I work in the vegetable garden, or when I can gather a bunch for a bouquet as I sip on a warm latte. Now that’s my kind of party, and I think, in its own way, it is a certain kind of celebration of freedom.
As I lay in bed with a pillow covering my ears, I wondered how many people go out of their way to see the fireworks, but completely overlook the flowers growing right beneath their feet.
The firework show eventually ended, but the noise next door did not. On and on the party went through the night. At it must have taken a turn for the worse though, or I heard vomiting, sobbing, and wrenching on the other side of the wall, which did not cease until they clanked their way down the hall just before sunrise, leaving a trail of mud behind them.
I was not looking forward to finding out what kind of mess waited for me inside. And I would call the room a pigsty, but that would be an insult to sus domesticus, so let’s just say utter and unmitigated disaster. The most random assortment was littered all about the place: half-chewed acorns, greasy hot dogs, and withering dandelions were spread all across the carpet. The teacups meanwhile were filled with some sweet and sticky foreign substance, and they were strewn about the room in various, precarious positions: on the floor, on the edge of the bed, inside the dresser, and flushed halfway down the toilet. Speaking of the bathroom, the vanity mirror was covered in lipstick as if someone had kissed it many times, but instead of lips, the red residue left wet, heart-shaped markings that actually did kind of resemble a pig’s snout.
Other unmentionable items were strewn about the place that I will leave to your imagination. I was simply grateful that the teacups were not broken, and decided to be more discerning with who I handed them out in the future.
My unruly, unexpected guests also left a rather unpleasant note in the guestbook with the same red lipstick that was on the mirror. I will paraphrase and say it went something like “never coming back here again, the housekeeper is annoying and has a stick up her butt,” and try to leave it at that. I do not want those messy, red words to do any more harm to me or anyone else.
To cheer myself up, I tore out the pages (with some amount of wrath and fervor I might add) and tossed them straight into my compost bin. I then flipped back to another old, entry I recently discovered. It goes:
By Chris Kleinfelter
A sunset is just a sunrise
stood on it's head.
After that we go to bed.
Day and night,
night and day
we can only say
how the rhythm of that
is the song of our lives
as we watch the bees
dance around their hives
as we make our own
kind of honey
fashioned from love
more precious than money.
You know I couldn’t have said it better myself. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to tend to some garden beds, watch some bumblebees, and celebrate with some flowers.
Till next time listeners,
Be kind, treat your service workers with respect, and don’t forget to water your plants,
Hey there, it’s Bailey Loveless, writer and reader of Gabriela & The Inn Between. Thanks so much for tuning in to this week’s episode. If you enjoyed the show, please consider supporting via Ko-Fi, link in the show notes below. It costs less than your favorite latte, and your contribution keeps the show self-sustaining and more importantly advertisement free.
Special thanks to local poet and woodcrafter, Chris Kleinfelter for letting me read his poem “Buzzing Well.” Chris has been writing the last 30 years, since he returned to college at age 40, which brought out his love for writing. After winning a poetry award in Thoughts Beyond Insanity, the campus literary journal, he has been writing ever since. His work has been featured in Harrisburg Review, The Villager, Tidepools Magazine, Sixfold Poetry Summer 2020, and Corona Global Lockdown as well as the Olympic Peninsula Writers Association 2022 anthology. You can find more of his work on his poetry blog poetinplace.com, his other prose blogs Adventures in Antiquing or Seward Adventures, or on his YouTube channel. When he is not squeezing words into poems, he spends his time woodworking. Thanks for working with me Chris!
To submit short prose or poetry to be featured in the Guestbook segment, please send us an email or visit our website for more information, links also in the show notes. New episodes of Gabriela and the Inn Between release twice a month during the quarter moon phase. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode. In between time, keep warm and keep well. See you next time, folks