The thing that I love the most about our neighborhood ... aside from the beautiful trees, flowers and greenery ... are the people. Our neighbors are kind and outgoing and they really pull together like a community should. A few months ago, when a huge storm ripped through the area, neighbors helped neighbors remove downed tree limbs and clean up their yards. People check in on one another and will pick up newspapers if they accumulate more than two days on a driveway. It's probably for that reason that most of the people that move in to this neighborhood never leave. As I've mentioned before, several of our neighbors are the original owners of their homes which were built in the 1960's, much like Mr. S who previously lived in our home for almost 50 years.
I think that one of the things that makes our neighborhood so special is that there are some serious traditions, here. There is the caroling and Secret Santa at Christmastime, pumpkin carving contests and an Octoberfest in the Fall. Springtime brings Easter Egg hunts and Kentucky Derby parties and then there is the Fourth of July parade (that we have yet to attend) that purportedly goes right down the main road leading in to our neighborhood.
There is another tradition that occurs on the Friday, following the first week of school.
Although there are three separate bus stops in our neighborhood, all the kids stayed on until the very last stop where they knew the parents would have a table set up with cookies, muffins and lemonade. This was the scene, today... when the kids got off the bus, it was like the running of the bulls.
Priceless memories in the making!
My dear friend, Lorie, recently moved from Los Angeles, California to Portland, Oregon and I've been meaning to write a list for her capturing some of the things that have made our move in to a new neighborhood (two years ago this week!) easier. As I tried to ponder what that "list" would look like, I realized that the single most important thing that we've done (next to figure out the shortest route to the grocery store) is establish a community around ourselves. However you accomplish that, whether by interfacing with people at school or church or work or your neighbors - in my opinion, having friends in your life is what makes living sweet.
Now if you don't have the sense that your neighborhood is especially friendly at the moment, don't be deterred. I doubt our neighborhood has always been this way ... someone had to ignite the spark that now burns brightly. Let it be you!
PS: Apple crisps are a great icebreaker and Fall is just around the corner!