You might remember my telling you that 40 years ago I worked as the night clerk in a Rockland motel. Many years later, Harold Mosher said he remembered working there with me because I hung my underwear out to dry in the lobby.

With the rudiments of hotel management in my blood, it was inevitable that I would someday rent out rooms in our home.

My wife, Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, went along with the scheme with the understanding that no guests would be here mornings when she has to be at work at 8 and would not, therefore, be here to ensure that guests got a proper breakfast.

But one night when we were officially closed, I came home late to see lights on all over the house.

You can guess who sheepishly told me that she had put two Montreal boys on motorcycles in the upstairs front bedroom because “they were so cute” and a Brazilian couple plus the wife’s mother in the downstairs Executive Suite. Both parties had showed up on the doorstep and asked for lodging.

So, five people would get an unsupervised breakfast.

Only the boys from Montreal put in an early appearance and were in the process of eating when Marsha rushed off to work – but not before telling me to put the orange juice back in the refrigerator and that bad things would happen if I didn’t attend to two or three dozen other important matters.

I was outside when the Brazilians came out of the Executive Suite to eat. By then one of the Montreal boys had roared up the driveway in my Model T as his buddy filmed it on his phone. I got the impression that it was the high point of his trip. So the Brazilians were left to fend for themselves. They poured their own juice and coffee. I never did see the young wife until the other two had eaten, as she was wrestling with a problem on her computer.

The boy from Brazil said that he was 50 and that he wanted to have a B&B outside of Orlando where they now live. Of course he had some kind of business degree, but his dream was to do something that was fun.

For years there was a sign on the Executive Suite toilet, “Hold Down To Flush.” He took off the cover and poked around and said that the valve mechanism was wrong. Then he got a pair of scissors and cut something so it worked great.

But that wasn’t good enough. He poked the buttons on his cellphone and found a picture of the kind of valve that the toilet should have. I rushed out to my garage and returned with a brand-new one.

He asked for a pair of Channellock pliers, drained the tank, put in the new valve and now it flushes slick.

Fixing stuff is his passion. He went down cellar and looked at all the pipes. He explained my plumbing system to me and said I should have three-quarter-inch pipe instead of half-inch right up to the place where it comes out of the faucet.

Meanwhile the boys from Montreal had quietly slipped away on their motorcycles and the two women sat waiting for Roberto (for that was the boy’s name) to effect repairs on the toilet, with his wife still solving some administrative problem on her laptop.

I didn’t see if they got anything to eat or not, but there was a respectable pile of dirty dishes on the table and a mess of broken eggshells in the kitchen, so I had to assume that nobody was likely to pass out from hunger before they got to Bar Harbor at noon.

The point of all this is that management honestly believes that without her steady administrative hand serving up fresh blueberry muffins, our friends would leave hollow-eyed and hungry. But all five had degrees in engineering or business administration, so the chances of finding even one unable to pour coffee or spread our homemade peach jam on toast was slim.

When finally alone, the chambermaid went up to do the beds and noticed that the boys from Montreal had left management two $5 bills: one U.S. and one Canadian.

Is there any doubt in your mind but what any one of the five guests would gladly come back and bask in the laidback atmosphere provided by an accommodating 81-year-old host who has yet to fry his first egg?

The humble Farmer can be heard Friday nights at 7 on WHPW (97.3 FM) and visited at his website:

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