When I was a kid, the words “company’s coming” meant there was work to be done, that people were coming to the house. It could be family or friends, but as a kid, I knew there would be a flurry of activity as Mom and Dad got things ready for whoever was coming to visit.

As you read this, my wife and I are two weeks removed from hosting a houseful of family and friends for the annual rodeo in town.

That meant preparing for kids and grandkids, beginning our preparation by giving the house a good cleaning, from floor to ceiling. We stocked up on food and drink, but with grandchildren in the mix now, we focused more on some of their favorite foods. We made sure to have enough fruit snacks and juice packets to last them the weekend.

Admitting that cleaning the house for guests can be a bit of a mundane task, neither of us complained too much about getting the house spic and span. Cleaning for a large gathering wasn’t something we got to do a year ago due to COVID-19. Our town celebration, like most in the state, was canceled.

Other things required our attention too. We made a meal list so we knew what was going to be served for breakfast each morning along with lunch and dinner menus. Our lawn was mowed, the garage swept out and the supply of lawn chairs inventoried. Coolers were brought up from downstairs and loaded with drink options, ready for thirsty guests.

The coolers belong to us, but their appearance brought smiles to our faces because almost every year someone stops over for the afternoon and forgets the cooler they brought with them. For a few years, we amassed quite a collection, often the cooler being reunited with its rightful owner the following year.

We saw old friends, some that we only see once a year during that last June weekend. There was catching up to do about who had a new job or who moved into a new home. Usually, that meant we simply sat around with a cold drink.

I bet there will be a lot of catching up throughout our communities this summer. People will be out and about after over a year of curtailed activities. COVID-19 vaccinations have helped with that.

That weekend we divided our time between saying hello to some, goodbye to others, depending on who was coming or going at any given time. A scorecard of sorts would have been useful to keep tabs on everyone.

We looked forward to the weekend, even though it meant cleaning up again when it ended. And true to form, we found things left behind. This year’s booty included a pair of shoes, a pacifier and a cooler still filled with beverages. The shoes and pacifier will be returned to their rightful owners, as will the cooler. Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee the beverages will still be inside.

You won’t hear us complain about food preparation, left behind items or cleaning up. It’s another sign that we are getting back to normal.

We had company.