My dear friend Nibby is Toastmaster this week and he chose the topic of “Welcome Wagon.”
I suppose I missed the age of actual welcome wagons. It’s possible that upon moving into our house on 61st Avenue when I was small, my mother or father received such a visit, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen a Welcome Wagon in real life. I suppose the only real knowledge I have of such things come from three venues:
1. Movies. Where the Welcome Wagon representative is often nosy, pushy and wears too much lipstick. Or is like this:
2. Music: The Welcome Wagon, an indie gospel band (with an album produced by Sufjan Stevens, which is pretty good credibility if you ask me.)
Their song “Remedy”
3.Church: In meetings where we discuss marketing our church, someone always suggests something to do with the “Welcome Wagon.” Dear, fellow Hendersonians: does such an entity still exist in some form?
I know when Jason and I were first married and before he settled into Presbyterian Church he decided to visit a few different kinds of churches, just to see what was going on in church in Henderson. He’d visit on a Sunday morning and often, on a Monday evening, our doorbell would ring. Church members would bring a basket or a dish or a bag of goodies for our family. Jason used to keep track so he could declare a winner (I do believe that in 2002, that winner was Zion Baptist, who delivered a huge basket of useful items, by the way).
But above musings aside, the Welcome Wagon is still an important concept. Hospitality is an important part of community of any sort. When someone visits your home, your church, your meeting, your company, you should seek to be welcoming! Provide information, pour a cup of coffee, offer a seat. When you are the regular and someone is new, it’s important to extend a hand of welcome and take the time to make him or her feel comfortable. Chances are, someone did it for you once.
(Riverbend Toastmasters meets each Wednesday at noon in the Multi-purpose room at the Henderson County Public Library. We would love to welcome you at our meetings!)