Over There

This one better write itself or nothing will be laid on this page.
I want to write about how different DFW Texas and Mississipi are from Central Illinois in matters of socializing, either with a friend or with a new face at the grocery store. I’ll just tell what I experienced in the south. Walking through the aisles of main stream and health food grocery stores eyeballs meet, people politely smile, nod and sometimes say “Hello”. Often, a brief conversation is had in front of several brands of canned tomatoes, each sharing their favorite brand and maybe a simple description of a good recipe, or we talk about the cute shirt one of our children are wearing, or whatever.
Those who know me well will say that of course this was my experience since I naturally initiate a bit of visiting with new people in Illinois too. Here’s the difference. In DFW and Mississippi, this was the expected norm. Quite often I was not the initiator of the chats. I happily enjoyed each visit, but many times was quietly wandering the aisles in search of a certain ingredient for black bean soup, retracing my steps a few times, when the person nearest us would just start commenting on the weather, what they were making for dinner or how their left leg ached on Thursdays. Oh how I love this part of southern culture.
And this was not all. I have very few memories of short phone conversations that stuck strictly to the matters intended for the call. Usually we’d visit for up to an hour, discussing the kids, the state of the world, swimming on Sunday, childhood memories, or our hopes for an upcoming gathering. These conversations were full of meat too. The pieces that connect humans, that challenge us, that we rejoice in. Often we spontaneously brain stormed some situation one of us was working on. This was also right up my alley!
Then there were the long afternoons together. Families spending whole days lounging around at one house or another, kids playing, moms comfy on big couches in the living room or hanging in the kitchen where some chore was being tended to, dinner, dishes, snack preparation. These visits always had a set start time and rarely had a preset ending time unless some activity was coming up. At first I thought it was just luck, that our newest friends were fond of long slow visits, but it kept happening over and over, almost no matter where we went. In fact, when we’d be ready to leave with out a plan to go to, going just because I wanted to be home, our hosts would make absolutely sure we didn’t want to stay a while longer, have dinner!
Even event planning meetings were longer too, less structured, more full of casual conversation, smiles and story telling.
Indeed I miss this. True, I have made many friends here who are of the long play date variety, the visit in the store kind, the discuss our children at the playground though we just met types and I am SO grateful for these continuing friendships that are getting stronger every day…but I still miss a whole culture that is about hospitality, forging bonds of friendship, courtesy nods and sweet little chats about town.

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2 Responses to Over There

  1. jennifer Wood says:

    really nice to read:)

  2. jennifer Wood says:

    Really nice to read:)

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