When a couple of friends from Tennessee came to visit this month, I was as happy as a dead pig in sunshine (a Tennessee colloquialism for pretty darn happy).

When I visited them a few years ago, I had a great time and was very comfortable in the home of my friend from high school who is now a lawyer for the state.

Her home is so beautiful, in fact, I was worried about how she might view my home. Not that she has ever been superficial (she likes me because I’m not a “fake person,” she says), but I saw how clean and up to date her house is.

Two of my friends pitched in to help me clean. In fact, we were busier than a moth in a mitten (another Tennessee reference). But my dysfunctional overhead kitchen light was still hanging by cords when the travelers arrived. There were still a couple of ugly marks on the bathroom vanity and most every spot needs a thorough painting. The carpet is 20 years old — and it shows. I’m still using hand-me-down furniture and none of it matches. I knew they were coming to visit me, not to inspect my house. Still, I wanted to make things nice for my friends. Finally, to ease my mind, I decided to just do the best I could because they know me and they know there are things I’d rather do than clean house and redecorate (no duh).

During the visit, I apologized for the kitchen lighting (which now comes from a lamp turned sideways and resting on a top shelf) and Stephanie said, “I didn’t even notice.”

I suspect she didn’t notice because my dog, Fred, kept my friends busier than a one-legged cat in a sandbox. He leapt from chair to couch to lap begging for someone to throw the ball. He snuggled with one before moving on to snuggle with another. He woke us barking in our faces and was as diligent as a black and tan after a squirrel when he was begging during mealtime.

They enjoyed his rapid runs through the house and laughed at the dog shaming when I caught him with papers or plastics he wasn’t allowed to have.

My friends took to Fred like a hog to slop. In fact, when they got home, they called to let Fred know they had arrived safely.

He let them know he appreciated it and invited them back by saying, “Y’all come back now, ya hear?”

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