Friday nights around 8:30 or so, you’ll see the garage doors begin to open, one by one, and people filter out to our cul-de-sac. We pop open lawn chairs, add another layer of bug repellant, find the shatterproof wine glass or the beer coozie or a glass for a wee dram, fire up the propane fire pit (weather withstanding), and settle in to chat for a couple of hours. As neighbors, we take our Friday nights seriously.
Like most good ideas, none of quite remember how this Friday-evening tradition started. Odds run high that it was a group-think effort. Somebody saw somebody on a Friday afternoon, mentioned wine and getting together, and a message was posted on the neighborhood chat. We all thought it a smashingly good idea, so we ventured outside into the beauty of a spring evening in Texas. And it went so well! Some have small children, some have teenagers, some have dogs, and we all have tight budgets, so Friday nights in with your neighbors checks all the boxes.
We’ve tried before, this intentional gathering, but it hasn’t always been so successful. This past autumn, we tried to jumpstart Halloween as the place to be for kids that want candy. After years of no trick-or-treaters (and why yes, I’d love to have a giant bag of miniature candy bars, just hanging around our house, begging to be eaten because nary a child graced our door), we braved the cold, damp night and gathered around the propane fire pit. We had a grand total of 13 children grace our steps, which true, is not a lot, but is 13 more than we had the previous year, so we’re counting this in the win column.
I must also confess to being the luckiest of neighbors. Andrew, who lives next door with his wife and two boys. He is Scottish by birth, and the bulk of his extended family remains in Edinburgh and the surrounding areas. What this means is that Andrew finds himself in airports, hitting duty-free shops in both Edinburgh and London, bringing home glorious bounty for me like Bunnahabhain, Craigellachie, and Loch Lomond. And as happy as I am when he returns home from his birthplace, I’m just realizing that I’m also a bit sad. My beloved and I will be gone for this year’s July 4th celebration. As Andrew recently became an American citizen, I could see this year’s festivities being a bit more…exuberant.
I was out walking the dogs with a friend the other day, and she mentioned that front porches are making a comeback. People are venturing out again, meeting their neighbors, gathering on front porches. Many of us have heard or read of this desire for community where we are, to have a circle of people that you can count on where you live. In our cul-de-sac, our houses our small and our front porches non-existent, but we still gather. So should you find yourself down on way on a Friday evening, you are more than welcome to come by. Our lawn-chair circle can always be opened to welcome
And that street sign? No, that isn’t really where we live. Bill got a little creative with his computer and thought he would rename it. As luck would have it, it’s quite fitting!