Steamboat Springs Houseguests can become a way of life for Steamboat locals.
They come with the territory when you live less than two miles from one of the best ski areas in the world.
Got a hide-a-bed? You've got houseguests.
We had some unexpected visitors at stately Ross Castle last week, and they were complete strangers.
With two days warning, we prepared to host two teenage boys whose home is in the southernmost part of England. They were part of an exchange program that had been very good to our own teen-ager in the past, and somehow their accommodations had fallen through the cracks.
What are you gonna do?
Tony Blair has been standing up for us this month, so we readily welcomed Sir Douglas of Gillan Mannallan and Sir Luke of Coverack into our manor house for more than half a fortnight (that's British for about a week).
We realized in advance that with three growing boys in the house instead of just the usual one, we would need to lay in some supplies.
And because our guests hailed from Cornwall, the little lady and I piled into the Humvee and headed straight for Central Park Plaza where we purchased every Cornish game hen in the freezer case at City Market.
Imagine our chagrin when we found out Sir Doug and Sir Luke preferred pepperoni pizzas and bacon cheeseburgers to dainty chickens. I'll be eating tiny drumsticks until the snow melts.
But I don't mind. Sir Doug and Sir Luke were good company once they recovered from their jet lag.
"So, fellas, I imagine living in England, you've skied in the Alps before," I said by way of inquiry on their first morning in town. Sir Doug confirmed he had been skiing once in the Austrian Alps, but Sir Luke's experience was somewhat limited.
"I've only dry skied, but I'm quite proficient," Luke replied.
Upon further questioning, Luke confessed that youngsters in England sometimes have to settle for skiing on a carpeted ramp. They call it Mount Karastan.
Some mornings they break out shag carpeting left over from the seventies, and they call it champagne powder.
Needless to say, Luke will never settle for skiing on a carpeted ramp ever again.
During his half a fortnight in the 'boat, Luke rarely skied on less than eight inches of freshies.
The kid probably went home and told his schoolmates that Steamboat gets five feet of snow a week, all winter.
If we experience the third British invasion next winter, you'll know why.
Every evening the boys sat at our dinner table and enthused about their ski instructors, the terrain parks that intimidated them, their first black diamond runs and the never-ending snow. We nodded knowingly and enjoyed their unbridled enthusiasm.
Depending upon what day you asked them, Sir Douglas and Sir Luke felt the skiing in Steamboat was either: "well good," or "posh," or "lush."
Well good means extra good, and lush means particularly pleasing.
Posh means first class.
I informed Sir Luke that Americans use the expression posh to describe something very luxurious, as in, "We stayed in a posh hotel last night."
Sir Luke then explained to me that the derivation of the word posh could be traced to tour boats that take in the dramatic cliffs along the English coast.
It seems that in another era, well-heeled sightseers were able to purchase tickets that entitled them to sit on the left, or port side of the boat on the trip up the coast so that they could take in the best view of the rock formations.
When the boat turned for home, their tickets entitled them to displace passengers on the right or starboard side of the boat for more advantageous viewing on the return trip. Shorthand for "portside out, starboard home" is, "posh."
We grew attached to Sir Doug and Sir Luke and their entertaining manner of speech during their eight days in Steamboat.
We were sorry to see them disappear from our lives, perhaps forever.
And we learned more from them than just the derivation of the word posh.
We learned that more often than not, you receive more than you give.
Cheers Doug. Cheers Luke.