One thing I like to do is visit others. It’s fun to just sit in someone’s living room and gaze at the pictures on the wall or on the coffee table or wherever else pictures are displayed in a house. And sometimes, if I could stretch my neck far enough, I could see into other rooms (to which I was not invited). For me that’s the really fun part. As a nosy little girl, I’d sit there staring into another room just waiting for the host to invite me into that place. Sometimes, I got that chance, but more often than not, I didn’t.
That brings me to my childhood visits to neighbors’ houses for either business or pleasure. Sometimes, we’d go to the neighbor’s house that sold milk from their dairy … that was business. We knew of them but didn’t really know them. Then, there were the real visits to Grandmother’s, friends or cousins’ houses to play, eat, do a little “catchin’ up” and a little television watching. I say TV, because we didn’t have one, so if we wanted to watch TV, we had to go to our cousin’s or to a neighbor’s house, who had one. And by the way, we weren’t the only family that didn’t have a television.
I like summertime best of all, because I like to walk barefooted and I always did, (except when I went to church, to town, or to visit … sometimes). So, unlike today, neighbors didn’t have to ask us to take off our shoes before entering their house. They were already off. Most country people didn’t have fine homes and fancy furniture. So, even in the winter, with mud and snow-caked shoes, you could just walk right in, have a seat and make yourself at home.
Every house had a porch, and during visiting season, this was everybody’s favorite place to sit. It was also the place we sat out of necessity and for comfort. It is just too hot to sit for long in an non-air conditioned house, so, the front porch became the “visiting parlor.” We would sit in their swing or in a rocking chair, if they had one. If not, we would plop right down on the edge of the porch, kick off our shoes (if we wore any) and enjoy the warm weather and the warmth of neighborly friendship.
I think my siblings and I roamed the countryside more than the average kids. Perhaps I think that because we never encountered our neighbors’ kids on our many trips out and about, but it was hard for me to stay inside on warm spring, hot summer or hazy autumn days. To me, God made these seasons for getting out, going places and doing things, and for sure, we took advantage of every pleasant day to romp around outside.
Since summertime is the “visiting season,” we’d walk miles and miles, (if we had to) to get to a neighbor’s house and especially if it was our favorite neighbor, Mrs. Ward, the perfect hostess. The weather is nice and hot (sometimes too hot), but if we didn’t get our visits in, we certainly didn’t go that much in the colder months. We did venture out some during wintertime but not for long and not nearly as far. But more often than not, we rode in the car, except when we wanted to go “dashin’ through the snow.” In the wintertime, if we visited anyone (other than family), those were almost always business trips to return an item like a milk jug or to get milk or butter or something like that. Though winter is cold, its personality is warm, and its beauty, especially its snowy landscape, drew us out of the house for short spells of fun and play. But summer is definitely “visiting season,” and a gracious hostess, a nice, shady porch, a cool breeze and a tall, glass of sweet, iced tea always tops the day off.