Last Sunday I attended the homecoming service held at a local church. The day marked 147 years that church has been in existence, and the tombstones in the adjacent cemetery bore witness to the passing decades.
There was certainly 147 years’ cooking experience on display at the dinner offered after the service. No 5-star Cordon Bleu chef can match a country church matron when it comes to laying out a Sunday spread. If gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins, there should have been a lot of lightning bolts that afternoon.
Of course, there are older church communities in our areas. Cemeteries on the Zoar Road date back two centuries, and I suspect there are family plots even older. And throughout the years, southern hospitality has been the tradition.
Flash forward to modern day: many opportunities to show off our hospitality arise this time of year. From sports playoffs to festivals and downtown events, we play host to many people from out of town. Often, their only impression of Hazlehurst or Jeff Davis County comes from their visit.
I’ve written here before about the negative impression visitors get from all the litter and trash along the roadways that lead into town. Fortunately we have many positive things to offset that: a newly reborn downtown area, excellent sports facilities, an energized younger generation determined to spur new development.
Of course, it only takes one idiot to leave a bad impression. There’s always someone who takes a playoff game too seriously and crosses the line from ardent fan to boorish fool. And so it falls to the rest of us to police our own.
So when visitors come to enjoy our particular brand of southern hospitality, let’s be sure that’s what they remember when they head home…after we beat their team, of course.