Our neighbors watched our dogs while we were out of town. In return, they asked if we would lend a room in our home for four days to a musician. It’s looking like we got the better end of that deal.
The guest, who arrived Tuesday, turns out to be Helen Gillet, an acclaimed cellist from New Orleans. Chad Meise, one of those neighbors, is producing a record for her.
I was impressed even before I met Helen. Then she arrived with her huge metal cello case and a warm, friendly smile, making it all the better. Her good vibes will serve our home well.
We’ve had 13 rounds of out-of-town guests during the first year that we lived in Kansas City. This year, we hosted two artists as favors to friends — Gillet and, in September, Jennifer Chaparro, a chalk artist from West Palm Beach, Fla. But that’s not enough.
So this week my husband and I are starting a new ritual, inviting a rotating cast of friends to casual dinners every other Wednesday. Why? Because sharing a house with others is vital for turning it into a home and giving it a soul.
Chad, a good-vibe guy himself, thanked us for taking in Helen as though we were doing him a huge favor. But I feel like I now owe him two favors instead of one.
Wrapping paper contest
We’re about to turn two pages of the FYI section into holiday wrapping paper designed by local kids. We’ll choose two winners: one age 6 and younger, the other in the 7-to-12 age group. The holiday-themed drawing should be readable when reduced to business-card size (so it can be reproduced in repeating patterns). Submit the design on 81/2-by-11-inch unlined paper, with the child’s name, age and city and a parent’s phone number and email address on the back. Only one entry per child, please.
Mail designs to FYI Wrapping Paper Contest, The Kansas City Star, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64108.
Or email a high-quality scanned image to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “FYI Wrapping Paper Contest” in the subject line. The deadline for entries is 11:59 p.m. Dec. 15.
Entries cannot be returned.