110. Dropping By Unannounced (Preferably Around Suppertime)

7 Sep

But how about some advanced warning next time…

Considering the millions of people who live in Seattle, I’m surprised how often I run into folks I know when I’m out and about. It always gives me the feeling that this metropolitan city is merely a small town with an overactive growth hormone. I know that it’s not a small Southern town, though, because these chance meetings usually occur at bookstores or restaurants and hardly ever at my very own doorstep. People here call first or, preferably, text.

Not so in the South. One must be prepared to welcome unexpected visitors at any time (or, in the alternative, hide under the bed till the knocking at the door subsides).

The other day, my dad mentioned that a friend from church intended to mail him a card but she couldn’t remember the address so she sent her husband over to hand-deliver it. Later that same afternoon, someone else dropped by to share an overabundance of home-grown tomatoes. (And may well have received a pile of figs in return.) That’s just how Southern people roll, y’all.

When I was growing up, our house was a popular location for the folks who happened to find themselves in the neighborhood. I should mention that “neighborhood” in the South could mean within a 100-mile radius. With no actual houses in between. It’s all relative.

Speaking of which, immediate family members tend to be the most frequent droppers by (and the most famished). I may have mentioned certain of my mom’s kinfolks who always stopped to spend the night en route from Texas to north Mississippi. Rarely was there advanced warning and they usually traveled in a pack of six to ten people. Fortunately, my mom—the self-appointed Sleeping Arrangements Organizer—always managed to designate a nocturnal resting place for everyone. (When Mom died and my siblings and I returned home, my sister said, “How are we supposed to know where everyone should sleep?”)

One of my family’s Frequently Told Stories involves my then-teenage brothers hosting a wild shindig while my parents were out of town. A couple of my mom’s sisters unwittingly crashed said party and the liquor had to be stashed right quicklike.

In the South, you just never know when someone will show up out of the blue, so it’s important to keep a clean house, stocked pantry, and company-friendly beverages. Also, you might want to put on something decent. Maybe not full makeup, but at the very least, pants. And if you have a pool, resist the urge to skinny dip (or as Southerners sometimes call it, “fat dip”) until after dark. Remember, your friends and relations are happy to keep you on the straight and narrow.

When I was a kid, I occasionally tagged along when my dad went “visiting.” This was before I acquired analytical skills and consequently did not understand how the sudden, unexpected presence of one’s preacher might put a damper on one’s Saturday afternoon. We always received a warm welcome, but surely more than once someone must’ve dashed to the kitchen to stash a few cold ones.

Despite what the U.S. Constitution says, Southerners have no expectation of privacy (reasonable or otherwise). You could string caution tape across the front yard to dissuade unannounced guests, but that would most likely just attract more look-y loos.

One of my favorite scenes from Friday Night Lights was when the coach and Tami arrive home and discover Buddy Garrity waiting in their driveway. Tami fumes, “WTF is smarmy-ass Buddy Garrity doing in our driveway?!” (I’m paraphrasing.) Then without missing a beat, she gets out of the car and says (sweet as iced tea), “Oh HEY, Buddy! Come on in!”

And, no, I’m not signing your petition…

Here in Seattle, we have a politely worded sign to dissuade solicitors from knocking and/or littering our door with propaganda. It doesn’t say that folks we KNOW ought not summon us unexpectedly, but that’s implied. I can’t recall ever encountering such a sign in the South or a Southerner who wouldn’t think the request A. sort of rude (despite the “please” and “thank you”) and/or B. not applicable to them.

A little more than a decade ago, I took up the notion to “get back to my roots” (which lasted all of four months). I formulated and executed my moving plans quite hastily and hadn’t informed many folks. During the last dozen or so miles of my journey from Seattle to Florence, MS, I decided to pop in and visit one of my oldest and dearest friends. When Sandy opened the door, I said, “Hey! I’m living here again now!” She gave me a huge hug and invited me right in. That’s how I knew I was home.

What do you think about random acts of visitation? Please do tell.

Photo Credits: Y’all Come Back sign by Frolic ‘n Friends available here, I’m Already Disturbed sign by Off the Wall Painting available here.

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25 Responses to “110. Dropping By Unannounced (Preferably Around Suppertime)”

  1. Beth Dickson September 7, 2012 at 9:20 am #

    I didn’t know your Daddy had figs. Is it too late in the season? I pass the house every morning on my way to work. I would have “dropped by.” Dang.

    • Kim Holloway September 7, 2012 at 11:02 am #

      Not sure if he still has fresh ones, but Ann preserved a whole bunch, so stop on by. I’m sure they’d be willing to part with a jar or two. Dad says he eats one every morning with his biscuit.

      • Beth Dickson September 7, 2012 at 11:15 am #

        Thanks! I can’t eat the preserves because of all the sugar. The figs are so full of sugar all by themselves already. Thanks Kimmie. miss you!

        • Kim Holloway September 7, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

          I’ll let you know if I hear about any more fresh ones.

  2. Gina September 7, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    I so love this! In Florida, they usually text or call or just don’t come. When I was at my parents’ house in Houston in July, they had at least 8 drop-ins from several groups of neighbors, to the actual Avon lady (even though she has a website) to friends. My parents always have a full fridge and full bar and welcome everyone as sweet as sweet tea, even if they were just about to walk out the door. I so miss that.

    • Kim Holloway September 7, 2012 at 11:03 am #

      I love that your folks have an actual Avon lady. I didn’t know they still existed!

  3. Todd Pack September 7, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    We used to have a neighbor who did that, a friend of Dad’s who lived a couple doors down, the kind of guy whose favorite topic was himself. We finally persuaded Dad to have a talk with him, which is something else Southerns like to do: avoid confrontration.

    • Kim Holloway September 7, 2012 at 11:05 am #

      Oh, you are so right, Todd. Southerners loathe confrontation…

      • Todd Pack September 7, 2012 at 11:47 am #

        Not that you’d tell me if you disagreed. 🙂

        • Kim Holloway September 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

          Nope, I’d just talk behind your back… 🙂

  4. cinaed57 September 7, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    ________________________________

  5. Breenie September 7, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    My dearly departed Southern grandmother used to have a neighbor lady who came to visit her at in opportune times. My grandmother (who was a long time smoker) would end up blowing smoke in the direction the lady was sitting. This ALWAYS shortened their visit!!
    (Neighbor lady should have replenished granny’s beer stash when she came over. Maybe she would have gotten to stay longer !!)
    Hehehehe

    • Kim Holloway September 7, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

      That’s one way to get rid of pesky visitors! You go, Granny!

  6. Hippie Cahier September 8, 2012 at 3:42 am #

    I feel like I should pay you for the revelation that came to me from reading this. I was married to a New Yorker who absolutely could not understand why I always needed to have a stocked cupboard to whip something up for anyone who might drop by.

    • Kim Holloway September 12, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

      Also, you never know when someone will up and die, thus requiring a casserole.

  7. Julie Newberry (@Jbeebus) September 8, 2012 at 4:22 am #

    So, so , so true.

  8. Debbie Pendell September 8, 2012 at 6:19 am #

    I think if folks feel comfortable enough to just stop by, then they must feel like family. And if they feel like family, then you are blessed.

    • Kim Holloway September 12, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

      Thanks, Debbie, that’s a nice way to look at it.

  9. Betty September 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    I’m not a fan of the pop-in. But as a lifetime resident of CT (with college years spent in Boston), I’ve never been accustomed to it. The only pop-in I seem to get is my mother. That’s why I’m not a fan. She always picks the worst possible moments.

    • Kim Holloway September 12, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

      My sister doesn’t live close enough to pop in, but she does always manage to call when I’m eating.

  10. Karen cronacher September 11, 2012 at 8:10 am #

    I woefully remember a time when I dropped in on my friend Kathy’s house in Bellevue. We were met with surprise and horror. Kathy’s husband told us he had to work and said, “rudeness begets rudeness.” But who was the rudest?

    • Kim Holloway September 12, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

      Wow! Hope they don’t ever move to the South. They’d be in for a rude awakening!

  11. reelingintheyears.wordpress.com September 13, 2012 at 8:15 am #

    Growing up we had the Avon Lady AND the Fuller Brush Man (who actually made appointments beforehand) and various and sundry friends and family members popping in to drop off everything from pies to peat moss. My brother kept snakes in a cage at the back door to ward some folks off. I actually have a roll of yellow caution tape at my backdoor, at the ready. We’re doing a small re-model and I didn’t want any nosy neds wandering up to take a look-see.

    • Kim Holloway September 19, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

      Love that you actually have caution tape. Hope it works! Oh, and I would definitely shy away from your brother’s cage ‘o snakes. Although now that I’m thinking about it, I did meet somebody once who had a cage of creepy looking gray snakes–corn snakes maybe, if there is such a thing. Anyway, I never visited there again…

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