It’s Christmas and as many of my readers know, I don’t like to talk business this week. There are 51 weeks of the year to do that so indulge for me a moment while I tell you a story.
My grandparents would leave Church on Sundays and go over to their friend’s house for a visit. It wasn’t a party, it wasn’t a get together, and it wasn’t planned. In fact, the friends didn’t even know that they were coming. Joe and Mary (my grandparents) would knock on the door and yell through the screen, “anybody home?” Their friends or family would come rushing to the door. My grandparents would go in and have coffee and dessert. My grandmother had brought and prepared the dessert in advance and the two families spent the next two or three hours socializing. The reverse would also be true as grandma and grandpa would go home after Church and just sit. They had no plans, but they knew someone would be stopping by (uninvited) to visit. They didn’t know who or when, but they were sure they would have company. Right around 2 or 3pm, family, friends, or a neighbor would be at the door with a pie, a cake, or some dessert for everyone to share. Grandma would put on a pot of coffee and welcome everyone in with open arms. They would talk about everything and nothing, but it was two or three hours of sharing lives and connecting.
Sadly, I feel like these days are gone and I how I yearn for them to be back again. I am only 42 and my friends call me “old fashioned or traditional.” They tell me I should have been born in the 40’s or 50’s. I was thinking the other day how much I love it when people stop by unannounced. I love company, but I am afraid we have lost this tradition as a nation. Most of the time when I want to see friends it takes three phone calls, two emails, and collaborating too many people’s schedules. I am not sure they would have the time to visit even if we did stop by on a Sunday afternoon. We have the most advanced social networking ever known to mankind; yet we are more isolated than ever before. We are connected to 20,000 people on Twitter and Facebook, but we have never been more alone. We are speeding through life; constantly playing beat the clock and wondering why we don’t have many close friends anymore. My sister lives in California, my brother lives in Pennsylvania, my father lives in New York, my mother lives in Utah, and I live in Denver. I guess that gives new meaning to the term “extended family.” If I am lucky, I’ll get to see some of them once a year.
Call me crazy, but I think my grandparents had it right and today we’ve got it wrong. Those Sunday visits, those relationships, and those people connecting face to face around tables in the United States have built and enriched our lives more than we could possibly explain. Now more than ever in these tough economic times, I think that we need to come alongside our friends, neighbors, and family and act more like one unit helping, encouraging, laughing, caring, and crying as we all attempt run the good race.
Over the next two weeks of this Holiday season, maybe we all should take a tip from an older and wiser generation. Maybe we should stop into a friend’s house unannounced for coffee or dessert and spend an hour talking about nothing and everything.
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