We had a sudden opportunity to have an unexpected guest for brunch on Sunday. This was someone we had never even met before, yet we were all filled with excitement and anticipation at the prospect of his coming. Here's a little hint:
I got a phone call from an acquaintance the other day, a fellow local homeschooler. She said something to the effect of Hello, how are you, I'm fine, are you guys into Chesterton?
Well sure we are! And yes, it would be fabulous to take Dale Ahlquist to Mass on Sunday and have him over for lunch and give him a ride to the airport!
Dale Ahlquist is the President of The American Chesterton Society and the creator and host of the Apostle of Common Sense Chesterton series on EWTN. He is also the author of The Apostle of Common Sense and Common Sense 101, as well as coauthor of and commentator on several other Chestertonian works. He was in town giving a talk at a conference, and we were jolly thrilled to be called upon to help out with hosting him.
Josiah stayed up cramming in some new Chesterton the night before. He greatly enjoyed The Man Who Was Thursday (I think he started it around midnight), but was so tired the next day he couldn't say much about it.
Nevertheless we all enjoyed our brief but memorable visit. It was great fun to take our famous guest to Mass and casually introduce him to all the Chesterton fans at coffee and donut time. Go say hello to Dale Ahlquist! Dale Ahlquist is here? Yes, he's down at coffee. What's he doing here? How did he get here? We brought him here!
It's always interesting extending hospitality to a total stranger, but of course there was much common ground for discourse. However we didn't just talk about Chesterton.
Any male who visits our house who has the slightest interest in history or literature gets a showing of the chain maille, and Mr. Ahlquist was rightly impressed with this er, hefty specimen and weighty topic of discussion.
And his talk of filming projects both amateur and professional led him to be offered a screening of Josiah's latest movie, which he graciously obliged. Here he is seen holding one of Josiah's miniatures (and if you've seen Josiah's movies you know if the city falls, all is lost, but fortunately Mr. Ahlquist didn't drop it).
Of course any guest, and most certainly such a famous scholarly guest, has to write in The Book.
although he was quite distracted by the strawberry shortcake and the mountain of Lydia's freshly whipped cream placed in front of him.
We learned how much he loves tomato juice (at least to look at) and how fond he is of red squirrels, and how Chesterton and the Pope can be a wonderful start to the vocation of Holy Matrimony. He told us of his travels to Chesterton's birthplace and childhood home as well as his travels to California and the spotting of certain, um, famous locals.
Kateri rightly thought he was a nice man and made herself quite at home with him.
And all this Chesterton talk has naturally inspired a resurgence of interest in, what else, but more Chesterton. We had great fun meeting Mr. Ahlquist and hope to see him again when returns east for this year's Chesterton conference.