How ‘Bout Dinner with the Neighbors?
Whatever your point of view, times are uncertain. Tension. Stress. It amazes me how we can be so divided and yet, underneath it all still a strong nation. America scares the hell out of me while amazing me at the same time. We are truly a cantankerous and contentious lot!
That being said, I think we do need to take a collective step back from Defcon 4. At this point, no amount of harmony would be too little.
As Kurt Vonnegut’s son Mark said, “We’re here to get each other through this thing, whatever it is.”
I suggest dinner and socializing with your neighbors. It’s easy to do and most likely will be rewarding. You don’t know where it will lead to – that’s the mystery, and it has been said that mystery is everything. It may be fun, it may be a bust, but technically no one can get hurt…and we all have to eat anyways.
I think this video is beautiful:
So, let me tell you a true story of what can happen:
A ways back, neighbors of ours decided to get together with a few other neighbors for fish fry (a Buffalo tradition) and then after the restaurant, hang-out together at one of the neighbor’s homes for desert, drinks and socializing.
It was a little politely awkward at first, as one might expect, but it quickly developed into the monthly “First Friday Fish Fry Club.” Its composition grew from four couples to peak at nine. On average, about six or seven couples attended each month.
The couples held very different points of view on many things…from political to social to core values. We, as it turned out were diverse in thought and opinion. We weren’t, however, divisive with each other.
And I can’t say that those differences ever changed, although maybe they softened a bit. I can say that we enjoyed hanging-out with each other in voluntary association. Nobody had to be there, yet attendance was usually quite high. We enjoyed getting along in spite of our differences.
During my self-appointed term as historian and minister of music, over the course of 14 years (yes, 14 years) we gathered 160 times. We had great times, but suffered some tragedy too. We watched our children grow and each other as well.
The First Friday Fish Fry Club, Christmas Holiday Gathering
Turned out to be incredibly special, but we were not incredibly special people. We just lived on the same street, in the same town, in the same state, in the same country. There was no master plan. We started getting together once a month and became better neighbors. America too may be better off if we all become closer neighbors again.
If you decide to mobilize your neighbors for any kind of gathering, there is no way to know how it will go, but I can say that it most likely will be worth the effort. Maybe dinner with neighbors should be a movement…Bon Appetite!
Personal Note: Dining/hanging with your neighbors can help you get over phobias like having “Happy Birthday” sung to/at you. I was always uncomfortable being the recipient of the annual crooning of that song, and I don’t even know why. Each month, one neighbor, let’s call him Peter, would discretely tell the wait staff that it was my birthday.
Well, I stoically face the smiling servers parading at me with a slice of cheesecake, obligatory candle sparkling in its middle. Here’s comes that dreaded song. The horror, the horror. And you would think that I would have anticipated Peter’s monthly maneuver and waved the staff off before it happened, but it being a month since the last attack, life being life, and just having a good time, I would forget about my looming fate. Then as time went by, it became part of dinner. A tradition of sorts. After so many times, over so many years, I now enjoy it.