I've practiced "social distancing" long before it became a catchword in today's world. It's nothing new for me.

My first personal experience with this practice came from my mother's sisters and sisters-in-law. You see, they are Bohemians, and Bohemian folk like to get close to you, even if you're not really into that sort of thing.

As a young, suntanned-cheeked farm boy, whenever my family visited my grandmother's house the smoochers were there. These women would grab me at the door of the house and plant a great big, slushy smooch on my cheek or forehead. Until I devised ways of avoiding this encounter I put up with it, but I didn't like it.

I practiced "social distancing" during my school days, especially when it came to my teachers and principals. I learned early on that staying my distance from any of them tended to equate with a better day. There is no feeling like walking down the school's hallways when a man's arm is placed over your shoulder and words of encouragement or discipline are whispered in your ear by your high school principal. You automatically thought you were in trouble.

You also didn't desire to have your teacher amble back to your desk and lean over you while you were writing a theme paper. As a result, you tried to do your best work not to attract his or her attention.

There were some kids in school who I social distanced from, especially some who were bullies. I've never figured out what makes some kids want to bully others. I had one such person bully me for some unknown reason until I'd had enough one day and put him on his back in the restroom. I wasn't bothered by him after that encounter and he social distanced himself from me for the rest of my school career.

Funny how that worked.

Social distancing wasn't too hard to achieve on the farm ground. Most of the tasks to be accomplished were usually accomplished alone. Although it would have been nice to have had a crew out pitching manure into the spreader, usually the job found only one set of hands on the fork handle. You were the only one on the flatrack as you stacked hay bales six high and five wide. The tractor driver was socially distanced apart and only looked back when he heard something bang or clang.

Hunting or fishing usually allows for social distancing as well. Even tossing a bait out of a boat with two others occupying the seats in front of you takes a bit of social distancing. Getting too close to a fellow angler in the boat usually ends up with tangled lines or perhaps a hook in the ear.

Hunting also requires distancing. Otherwise you may take a shot pellet in the face. I have personal experience here and still have a pellet lodged in my lower jawbone. Keeping your distance from a shotgun is a good thing.

In this time of "social distancing," I'm not really having trouble with it. Some of my Bohemian hugging and smooching relatives may be suffering. But distancing in my mind is better than one of those slushy, lipstick-smearing pecks on a suntanned boy's cheek. I got good at ducking.

See you next time. Okay? Stay well!