I read an article on southern hospitality which stated regardless if you are a stranger or a returning guest everyone visiting the south will be treated in a warm, friendly, generous way. This got me to thinking what hospitality means to me.
I have lived my nearly 55 years in Queens New York. I live 15 minutes away from the six family apartment building I was raised in. Back then everyone knew each other by name and we treated each other like family. Children had to show respect to their elders and called them either Mr.and Mrs. or if they were good friends to our parents Aunt and Uncle.
I believe hospitality is a way of life that can be found in all places because we certainly had it back then.
We did not have wrap around porches but I spent many Summer nights out on the front stoop playing hopscotch and roller skating. I have fond memories of Summer Sunday mornings and Mom rising early to pick up fresh baked kaiser rolls after mass. She and dad would pack the car with the cast iron frying pan, eggs and bacon as well as the charcoal grill and newspaper and we drove the twenty minute trip to Forest Park where we would enjoy breakfast with other families doing the same thing. Later in the afternoon they had music playing in the nearby band shell and we would listen keeping cool sitting on our old blanket spread out under the shade of the trees.
The lessons mentioned in the article were the same things I learned in childhood. They are simple things that I have lived my life trying to do such as: be polite, say hello to people you meet, offer to help others as often as you can, smile, pay many compliments, say please and thank you, always be nicer than necessary and have respect. My mother raised us with the knowledge that people are much more important than things. Be caring and kind. Always respect your elders and most importantly your parents.
These days we are moving so fast. We choose interpreting texts and email messages versus picking up our phone and verbally communicating. Back in the day we had one telephone in the house and while I know we need modern technology I have learned to shut my screens down a bit more and verbally communicate, take time to visit with people and try to be more generous with my time. Hospitality is not acquiring more stuff but spending time doing what is important.
I have had grits in Atlanta and farina here at home. They have different names but are the same dish that tastes delicious in both places. How Y’all doing does have a sweeter sound than How Are YA!! but the meaning is one and the same . Maybe parks no longer have bands playing on Sunday Summer afternoons but we can crank up the music in our homes and sing out loud. Maybe things are bigger in Texas and perhaps I don’t have the great southern barbeque that was described in the article but I have made pretty darn good chicken, ribs and chili right here in my Queens kitchen and have no problem sharing it along with the recipe. I can smile more, I can lend a neighbor a hand, I can give a hug and make people feel special and cared for.
Life does hand us lemons from time to time but we can throw them in a pitcher of sweet tea and not let the situation sour our mood. Each state has something different to offer that we can teach and share and when we do it with a grateful heart hospitality will greet us every step of the journey.
We can all be nicer, kinder, patient, understanding, caring, generous and friendly. We all have the common feeling of wanting to know we matter in this world. Everyone at some point has fallen on hard times and we can all show them some love, kindness and compassion. Wouldn’t it be great if one day there were no mean, angry, hurtful words said and we all showed hospitality to everyone. It is possible if we try!
This Big Apple girl who will forever call New York home and thanks you so much for visiting and hopes Ya’ll will come back real soon!!!!!!! She lives her life with the daily thought that a day without laughter is a wasted day so you will be guaranteed a chuckle as soon as you step foot on the first step of the stoop. Laughter is the best medicine and will definitely keep you healthy and out of the HOSPITAL. So... Start spreading the news, I'm leaving today, I want to be a part of it....HOSPITALITY!!!!!