The Pierre S. du Pont who built Longwood Gardens described his religion to be “a nonpracticing Episcopalian.”
“Just like me!” I told my wife.
“You were never an Episcopalian.”
“But if I am nonpracticing, it doesn’t matter. I nonpractice lots of religions.”
Come into Longwood Gardens and the staff will refer to you as a guest. I have always preferred “visitor” because “guest” implies free, that someone else will pick up the tab. Invite me to dinner as your guest, and I will leave my wallet at home.
But once you step into the Peirce-du Pont House, you become a guest in my mind. Only invited guests come into another person’s home.
I often jokingly greet guests entering the Peirce-du Pont House with, “Welcome to my house.” That always brings an immediate laugh, but why is it so funny? Is it so ridiculous?
I learn a lot from the guests. A woman with a strong New England accent and a confident manner pointed out the shutters on the old, Peirce section of the House are solid on the first floor, but louvered on the upper floors. I had not noticed that before. It was commonly done, she said, because the ones on the first floor were locked at night while the ones above, where the bedrooms were, were louvered for ventilation. (I suspect early homes did not have screens and the louvered shutters were closed at night to keep out the larger critters.)