People are venturing from their hidey-holes but life is not back to normal.

It will be some time before we revert to having people in the house: The back yard maybe.

Before we had so many choices of things to do local social gatherings were abundant.

There were recitals by music students, talent shows school plays. We made our entertainment.

While I was in elementary school “doll parties” drew little gals with their favorite doll.

The dolls were dressed, undressed, placed in chairs around a table, had pretend sips of tea, told their stories. I’m not sure girls play with dolls like that today.

My daughter invited a dozen little friends to her grandmother’s for a “tacky party.”

Kids dressed up in the wildest, tackiest way they and their mothers could imagine. Once pictures were taken it was just a party with games but there were some creative get-ups.

I still have pictures.

“Come As You Are” parties used to be popular. As I recall they were scheduled during a particular week, so that you could be called anytime to show up in, oh ten minutes or so. You had to show up as you were when the call came.

The prospective hosts of one CAYA party called all the invited guests and informed them the party had been postponed.

It was postponed for four hours. Everyone had to show up after midnight.

With five railroads the small town of Richland, GA was a railway hub as the Atlanta Airport is an aviation hub.

People read the Savannah Morning News, from fully across the state. A non-stop express train brought them in the very early morning hours. The Columbus paper, 40 miles away, came later.

An active group of young adults attended the church when my father was pastor in Richland.

Most of the young men were veterans, many young couples.

One of the young men, James Pickett Goare, was probably the best known man in town. “Pic” was the town character, entertained kids by fishing around in his shirt pocket for a green snake or baby squirrel. He was also a joker.

One autumn night, when it was cool enough for a bonfire, the church held a “Hobo Party.”

The main dish was “Hobo Stew,” a concoction of whatever people brought and tossed into the cast iron pot after the peanuts had boiled.

When dinner was over and games completed people gathered up the empty cans. Among them was an empty dog food can.

The gals were grossed out but the guilty party was obvious.

Pick was the only one laughing.

“NO,” he didn’t, not really.

It was a gag.

Joe Phillips is a noted historian, a Douglas County resident and a regular columnist for the Sentinel.