Visiting–An Appalachian Way of Life
I’m worried that the art of visiting is drifting into obscurity. I was writing a scene earlier this week and a character invited guests to “come in and sit a spell.” This was a common phrase when I was growing up. Even if you were just dropping something off, hurrying on to your next appointment, you’d get invited to come in and visit.
On Sunday afternoons, Dad would often load us up in the car and we’d go visiting. We’d go see my great-aunt and uncle or my grandmother. Sometimes we’d stop by Aunt Bess’ or Gail Phillips’. All kin of a sort. Generally, my brothers and I would head off somewhere to play while the adults visited.
Then there was “visitation” at funerals. This was often the evening before the actual funeral. Family would go to the funeral home and receive anyone who wanted to come pay their respects. It usually lasted a couple of hours and someone would always look in the casket and say, “Don’t he look natural.” Visitation still happens, but it too, seems to be fading away.
And I think, what it boils down to, is that we just don’t take the time anymore. We pack our schedules so full, there isn’t time to sit on the front porch with a neighbor and watch the fireflies come out. Pardon me, lightning bugs. We’re too busy to go sit in the living room and eat pound cake with the old folks.
And as a result, we’re losing a treasure. It’s just one more way we’re losing our connections with people. You know, the actual people you can reach out and put an arm around, kiss on the cheek, and hug.
Sometimes Thistle and I walk up the street and visit a friend and her three children. Visits don’t usually last long–just long enough for Thistle to clean the crumbs from under the high chair, for the kids to get plenty of puppy dog kisses, and for my friend and I to solve one or two world problems. Then we come home–Thistle to her chair and me to my busy schedule. And we’re both the richer for it.