There was a time when people used to drop into each other’s homes. All the time. It was the way things happened when I grew up on the farm. Certainly there were visits scheduled ahead of time when your hosts knew you were coming but there was lots of impromptu visiting. Neighbours and friends would come by for coffee in the morning or just before lunch or dinner and would be seated at the table to join in the family fare. Every so often I pull out a pile of letters my Mother wrote to me when I was at university. She filled the pages with news of everyday life and almost everyday, sometimes more than once a day, people dropped by. A stream of wonderfully warm social interaction.
Over time things have changed. At least they have in our experience. When and why did people stop dropping by? Is it urban living? Do we think we have to have everything just so before people come over nowadays? One thing about drop-of-the-hat entertaining is you serve what you have on hand and you eat what is offered. It could be Cheerios for lunch. Now there is some unwritten understanding that you must call or email and text ahead. Whatever the reason, we are the poorer for it.
The idea from this blog comes from a gift I received last week. The doorbell rang and, my goodness, there was a friend! She was in the neighbourhood and dropped by-just like that! What a wonderful surprise. It was lunch and she said, yes, she would like to stay and anything would be fine. Even Cheerios. Fortunately there were supplies on hand to make something looking like lunch but I know she would have been happy with Cheerios. And I was so very happy to have her seated in the kitchen. We visited and it was grand. When she left I looked around and saw there was ironing on the railing, waiting for the ironing board, a floor half washed, the vacuum hose lying in the middle of the floor and the counter strewn with ingredients for the evening meal prep. She’d walked into and around all of it. There was enough room to find a spot to eat and lots of time to visit.
I hope this is the start of a renaissance of dropping by. My husband is planning to drop by a friend’s workshop this afternoon. And he’ll be happy to be welcomed and to have a visit and who knows, maybe some Cheerios.
Is our experience one of city dwellers? Or maybe we just aren’t that approachable (note to self: remember to invite people to drop by). What’s your experience of dropping over these days?