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Memoirs of a Young Innkeeper

Table Talk is the soul of a Bed and Breakfast experience. Without it, it just simply isn’t the same. Of course, it’s a vanishing thought and a flicker in the wind compared to our now fast paced digital world, but I feel it is being revived. I remember when my friends and I would spend hours over breakfast chatting about the latest news and travel and relationships (the list goes on). With our feet propped up on the chairs, we would dive into our second coffee press and swim around in our sea of migas as we conjured ideas, dreams and futures. Today, I look back at these memories and I am finding they were crucial in helping me develop a sense of who I am today. This close community of neighbors, friends and roommates whom I shared many of table talk sessions are the very reason I am an innkeeper today.

When we have several travelers staying at once, breakfast is never a dull moment because someone knows the other through a friends bowling team or someone used to live on the same street as the other growing up in Mississippi. It never fails, every morning there is some level of connectedness between our guests. However, sharing something in common can go even further than sheer coincidence and most of the time people form very intimate conversations that almost always hit home. Our breakfasts will go from 30 minutes to hours depending on the group and topics always touch careers, hometowns, schools and religion. Sometimes there is a lot of laughter and jokes and sometimes there are moving tears from loss of a loved one or tragic life experiences. No matter what the experience, good or bad, inspiring or frustrating, one thing remains; all our guests leave having sat face to face with strangers for more than ten minutes talking about life.

Life =relationships. In my mind, that is, mixed in with good honest hard work and some good food on top. I see so many guests with so much undue stress and then watch them walk out the door with their shoulders dropped, smile on face and a slump in their walk. Life is good when there are people to relate to and share stories with; life is good when people make deeper connections with others. It is no wonder why guests come back, to meet new people and hear of new lives and experiences. I was always curious why people would follow my travels and read my blogs, after all, what did they care? They would say, “I’m living vicariously through you,” and I would shrug. I know now, it is the thrill of knowing that others are moving and shaking, the excitement of following someone else’s dream and the comfortableness of learning hard lessons others face.

So this is the reason I feel for those who miss breakfast. Sure it’s about the food, but really it’s about the table talk, the conversation of life.

Safe travels,

Ashlee Unger

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