I don't play with my blog much, just the odd tweak here and there, but I liked this new look. The juxtaposition of the serene background and my rants tickled my humor gene. Call me twisted, but I like what I like.
Anyhoo, it's been a busy week as we get ready to throw our annual 4th of July Block Party (we resurrected an old neighborhood tradition last year and liked it well enough to do it again) and it's been raining buckets (finally!) so busy in every way. I like having the Block Party. My in-laws had told me about them when my husband mentioned at a family BBQ some years back. When we moved into this neighborhood and saw the mix of old and new neighbors, we felt it was something everyone would be interested in, and we were right. There are 100 homes in our development and half showed up last year for food, fun and lots of heat. This year we're hoping for the same folks to show up. With any luck we'll see some new faces.
Neighborhood get together and block parties were sort of the norm when I grew up. I remember many. I also remember picnics at the park being a huge part of my childhood. It was a big deal to spend a Saturday at the park, playing on the merry go round, running around, and eating sandwiches and chips and getting to drink coke like there was no tomorrow. I remember knowing my neighbors, and the people in my neighborhood. They knew me, and what's more, they all watched out for me and all of the rest of the kids in our neighborhood. We were safe.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not turning in to a Community Organizer with my eye on the Oval Office. No thank you. But, I like knowing my neighbors. I'm more likely to look out for them if I have an interest and have stake in their well-being. Because I know that they will look out for me for the same reasons. That way when they go on vacation I am more likely to notice if a moving van shows up the next day and starts emptying their house. I will call the police, not just shrug and say, 'I never noticed a realtor's sign in their front yard."
See how that works? It's self-interest at its finest. If I watch out for their kids in the street, perhaps they will let me know when my teen driver is going through the neighborhood like Mario Andretti. If they water my flowers while I'm out of town, maybe I'll notice when their papers pile up for a few days and I notice their car is still in the driveway and their flowers are looking dry and will check in to make sure they are OK. With many elderly in our neighborhood it's a real worry.
My in-laws moved to this neighborhood in 1979 from a small town in New York, where they had settled upon immigrating from Holland. There are still quite a few folks here that were here when they moved in or came shortly after. In today's society that's amazing. We also have many who, like my husband, moved back after college and starting a family, realizing it was an excellent place to raise spoiled brats... I mean... unique, precious little snow-flakes. The lot at the end of the subdivision had not yet been developed so they used to hold the party in the empty field there. When we started out annual New Years Parties, the first year we lived here, many neighbors talked about the old parties and how they missed them. So last year, I took a chance and held on. I made up fliers, had my daughters hand them out, and my neighbor, Tina and I waited, nervously, for anyone to call and say they would show up. Before the girls had finished handing them out, people were calling wanting to know what to bring. I thought the party was a rousing success with everyone talking about doing it again next year.
I feel absolutely horrible for one thing though... I'm horrible with names and faces. I simply cannot remember someone's name that I don't speak with each and every day. I've done everything known to man to improve my memory, but nothing works. However, I think I'm almost old enough to pretend I have Alzheimers... just kidding, that really is no laughing matter, except, I think it might be an improvement for my leaky memory.
Look for community parties in your part of the world. You will find that you have more in common with your neighbors than not. And, you will begin to broaden your self-interest.