What happened to our neighborly visits?

By Peter J. Gossett
General Manager/Editor
“Come on son, let’s go,” were words I remember my grandmother telling me during the summers of my youth. They were dreaded words which usually meant we were going to visit someone, such as a relative or some of our neighbors. As a kid, going to visit someone meant a boring sit, where my grandmother could see me, and while listening to their conversations, usually settled along times gone by.
Current news and what had been going on in the home both were additional topics my grandmother would discuss with the ones she visited. She would also talk about recipes, canning and making a garden.
The visits would last hours, and in my kid’s mind, I wondered what they could talk about so much so often. There were not any other kids to play with or anything to do other than listen to my headphones or listen to the conversation.
Now that I am older and interested in genealogy and local history, what a wonderful time this would be to sit and discuss things. All younger generations can learn from those who are older. History is lost every day when someone passes away, and preserving that history is easy enough.
All those small, personal things people remember are hardly ever recorded for future generations. These are things not found in cemeteries and newspapers. In other words, the memories people have are rich, personal tales that will be gone one day.
Today, we have Facebook and other social media to keep us updated on friends and relatives. But it’s just not the same. There is something missing in the balance of our hectic pace of life these days. Alas, the neighborly visits are a thing of the past it seems.
I don’t do it either. I rarely visit someone other than immediate family, and no one comes to visit me. I think of this topic on my daily drive to Hamilton. Coming from Winston County on U.S. Highway 278, there are a cluster of homes about one mile east of the Buttahatchee bridge at the city limits. About 2001, one of the older occupants of one of these home was having a yard sale, and I stopped when I saw a knick-knack of the kind my grandmother collects. I hurriedly bought the item and left. It was an old couple, and even though I only talked a few minutes with the lady, I knew that we could have had a good visit and talked about things.
Time has passed, and weeds are now growing around this house. What looks like a lonely walker is placed just inside the garage. It hasn’t moved since I resumed daily drives to Hamilton in October. The residents of this home most likely have died or are now living with a relative who can care for them.
If I could go back in time, the lady and I would have our visit. I missed my chance. Don’t miss yours.



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