Many of you that follow the Inn's Face Book page know about Mr., our mascot. A male mute swan. This beautiful guy sadly lost his mate 3 years ago. Swans mate for life, but if one dies the other will look for another. If Mr. would have been able to fly, he would of set off on a mission to find another. During this time when he was a widow, I often reflected how people go through this sadness. What do they do to cope?
Imagine, if you will, two strangers that just happen to have a reservation at Swan Song Inn on the same week-end. Both have endured the loss of a much loved spouse. They both had decided to take a week-end to relax and decide what direction their life should go in now. It has been a few years since, lets call her Sally, Sally's husband of 30 years had passed. Joe's wife has been gone just a year.
The sprawling 10 acres here at the Inn give plenty of space to be alone with your thoughts. You can walk the lake with just Mr. and the ducks for company. Sally can sit knitting in one of the rocking chairs in the shade of one of the mighty oaks and Joe can be around the lake fishing, and you never have to meet or even speak if you don't want to. Until breakfast.
So after three years I finally get a lead on a female mute swan that is located only 3 hours away and within our budget. I take off to Hillsboro, MO, ( my Hometown of all places to find her) to pick her up. A quick round trip and we arrive back at the Inn. She has been alone her whole life, never had a mate. She was so excited to see all the green grass, the ducks and the huge lake before her. She has been in a corral of sorts with just a small water hole. Then she spotted HIM. Mr. in all his finery is gliding up to me, as is his nature to follow me everywhere I go. He still has not noticed her in the back of the truck. I have the pen ready for her so she can acclimate to her new surroundings. When we transferred her into her temporary holding pen, is when he noticed her. He immediately swam up to inspect this new creature in his lake. Her name is Mrs. Lola.
Mrs. Lola and Mr. chest bumped. That is friendly swan language for hello. All seems good at this point. They took their meals together for a few days. Then the big moment! RELEASE into the lake. At first she was hesitant, shy almost. Then she realized she was free in this beautiful body of water that she had never seen before. She promptly took a bath. She had never had this much clean water to do that before. Then they chest bumped again. Time to get to know one another
Joe and Sally shyly say hello to each other at the breakfast table. There are two couples there as well so the conversations started. " Where are you from? How long will you be in the area? Have you seen the Hubble replica on the town square?" Normal small talk during the breakfast feast here at Swan Song Inn. One couple is just passing through for a couple days from Connecticut. The other are celebrating their 40th wedding Anniversary here. Joe mentions that he came here for some quiet time to reflect and maybe start writing a book and Sally mentions that she just wanted a change of scenery. They both find out that they are from similar areas in St. Louis, MO.
Everyone goes their own way for the day. A bit after dinner time the group seems to gather on the porch around the fire pit to chat. Cups of Hot cocoa and tea are being enjoyed along with some of neighbor Mrs. Marie's chocolate chip cookies and the amazing decorated cookies from 2 Kids and a Crumb. Joe and Sally seem drawn to each other. Is it an attraction or just a mutual loneliness that they can forget for a few moments. Slowly the couples migrate to their suites and it is just Joe and Sally around the fire. This Inn Keeper has retired for the evening as well, with instructions for them to put out the fire when they are done.
Mrs. Lola and Mr. continue to stay side by side. Their bonding continues with the idyllic heart shaped hug. This is a positive sign of the connection that is happening, a part of swans courtship rituals. From this point forward he is on guard. Protecting her, letting her eat, driving off the duck and geese from her food. Mr. puts himself between her and anything else, including this Inn Keeper. It looks as if they will be completely bonded and maybe come spring they will nest and produce cygnets.
The next morning at breakfast the group gathers for another wonderful breakfast. Stuffed French Toast that the Inn is famous for, served with the "best bacon in the world" according to Joe. But something has changed. Joe and Sally are not across from each other, but side by side. There seems to be less nervousness about their conversations. And boy were they conversing. This Inn Keeper notices things like this, and it makes me smile. I overhear them making plans for the day, that include each other. "Well, isn't this a change of events" I think. They ask me for a map of the area and some things they can go do. As any good concierge would do, I produce said map with several areas circled such as Hidden Waters, and Webster County History Museum.
Once again, everyone is off for their day of adventures.
The swans are my Mascots of Love here at Swan Song Inn. When people see swans, they see their beauty and the symbolization of love. Because swans mate for life, we compartmentalize that to equal forever love. I get to watch their behavior daily and I never tire from seeing Mr. taking care of and guarding Mrs. Lola.
The guests gather at the pergola fire pit this evening for wine and comradely chatter. They all find out that we offer Murder Mysteries and discuss coming back another time to enjoy this feature. Possibly during the colder months. I notice that Joe and Sally are holding hands. I hear that they discovered that they both have a love for Route 66. Both being from the St Louis area this does not surprise me. I let them know that Marshfield has an amazing Route 66 Festival called the Route 66 Carnivor Festival on June 20th, 2019. They ask if we still have availability for that week-end.
The evening is over, and everyone is retiring to their rooms. The moon is full and shines down upon the lake highlighting Mrs. Lola and Mr. I see the silhouette of Joe and Sally, still holding hands as they mosey back through the yard to the main house.
photo by firstname.lastname@example.org
Everyone enjoys breakfast and the check out process has started. Hugs go around as we all have become friends. I see all my guests, as friends that I just haven't met yet. The anniversary couple book for next year, the Connecticut couple wants to see if they can meet up with their Kansas friends for a Murder Mystery. I talk to Joe and Sally, and they shyly ask me if we do weddings...!!! I cant help but smile and hug them both. I tell them, what a fitting place to get married. The term Swan Song means "the last big thing" Another love story unfolds here at Swan Song Inn.
Inn Keepers Cheri and Doug