When Matt and I first moved into SoCe, we observed the folks on our block doing small and large things to care for each other. It ranged from looking out for strange vehicles, to rolling people's trash containers back up their driveway, to returning runaway dogs, to sharing food. We commented that we wanted to be a part of that tide of neighborliness. We wanted to learn from our neighbors how to be better neighbors.
We are still learning! When I gather neighbors together I usually think of planning at least a week in advance, delivering invitations, making a special meal, ... However, last night I learned that sharing a meal with neighbors whom you care about is much simpler. Sometime in the early evening, our neighbor across the street left us a phone message to come over at 6:00 for dinner. Unfortunately, we didn't get the message till 6:45, so we rushed right over.
When we arrived, 2 other neighbors were already there. There was a pan of ribs, a pot of sweet corn on the stove, and baked potatoes on the side table. One of the neighbors loves apple pie, so there was apple pie and ice cream for dessert - even though our host is allergic to apples! When we walked in he told us just to grab a plate and a fork and help ourselves. There was enough food for 8-10 people! The five of us heaped our plates and then sat down together at the dining room table. It was so much fun to visit and get to know each other better. There were stories, teasing, offers to help each other with house projects, and plenty of leftovers to take home!
Last night I learned that a meaningful neighborly get together does not require lots of planning, paper invitations, a fancy meal, or even a spotless house!