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GUIZERIX: The resurgence of Sunday afternoon visiting

After Mass last Sunday, I took a little drive around town with my family. We drove past other churches where services were ending, before sitting down to lunch at Walnut Hills.

On our drive, I noticed something that warmed my heart and gave me a sense of hope for the future after a somewhat bleak year. People in churchyards were hugging their friends, standing next to one another, talking and laughing in the sunshine. Children were running and playing on playgrounds, and elders were gathered on front porches, shooting the breeze.

What I once considered the pieces and parts of everyday life seemed almost magical at that moment.

After months of hiding away and minimizing social interactions, it is so good to see society reawakening.

Arriving at Walnut Hills, my family (and, it seemed, every other family in Vicksburg and beyond), sat down to enjoy home-cooking. In between bites we were greeted by friends and neighbors who were thrilled to be out and about — just stopping by the table to visit. 

Visiting, in a sense, is a Southern artform that falls among the ranks of — and is arguably as integral to who we are as — slow-smoked barbecue, storytelling and soul music. 

Front-porches become places where people solve the world’s problems over sweet tea and mutual understanding.

Pre-pandemic, “going visiting” went out of style for a number of years. We’d all but stopped greeting those we knew when we saw them at the grocery store or at a restaurant. And forget about a phone call with those bothersome ringtones.

Why should we speak to them in person, when they’re a text message away? 

Then, we all know what happened. Being stripped of the privilege of visiting with others in person, unable to even see their faces or get close enough to swap gossip, acted as a shock to our cultural system. 

From my viewpoint, the resurgence of visiting, as a practice, is a positive outcome of one of the worst times in recent history. It’s something I hope we can maintain as society continues to emerge from the depths of the pandemic. 

As the summer heat beats down on our heads, let’s all strive to keep the momentum going and relish in this moment in time: a moment when we can reconnect with old friends and visit like we used to.