Ah, it’s time again for me to write about something of substance. Or something.
We talk often about trying, someday in the future, to live in an intentional (Christian) community. We liked what we had at the Tulane Catholic Center, we’ve had retreat/camp experiences that were short term communities, and we liked it, so we’d like to do something similar full time.
Funnily enough, Craig’s parents already practically have this. We borrowed their house over the 4th of July weekend while they went on a vacation to Boston. Here is how our weekend went.
We drove in on Saturday afternoon and set up shop. Before we could decide what we would do for dinner, Miss Mary Lou and Mr. Bob next door invited us over for ham, corn on the cob, and potato chips. This, of course, led to an evening of conversation, running children, and general fun. It was a good way to start the holiday.
On Sunday, we went to Mass (after which the youth group help sparklers to liven the spirits of those exiting the church – Fr. Tom’s idea, not ours!) and then spent a long time talking over donuts with Rusty (who we found out lives two blocks from Craig’s parents) and Anna who is the 13th of 18 children. We were almost the last ones to leave. But we went back home and cooked hot dogs for Bob and Mary Lou (aka B-Bob and Mimi) while the girls swam. Dinner was kindly provided by Mr. Joe and Miss June across the street, and B-Bob and Mimi, the neighbor next to Joe and June, Mr. Darwin, and the couple two doors down were also there, along with a good part of Joe and June’s family. So far – five meals, four of them in communities.
The other thing with Mr. Joe is that he invites everyone who lives around him over for beer every afternoon at 4. Accommodations are made for little ones who can’t drink much beer. And Mr. Bob spends 9/10 of the day, rain or shine, hot or cold, on his back porch (which might as well be his front porch) open to company. We barge in frequently, and often return with ice cream.
Monday we had Mr. Darwin and B-Bob and Mimi over for dinner (Craig made some amazing meatballs, I’m sure he would be willing to share the recipe if he remembers it!) and then went to a youth group softball game.
Tuesday Craig went to work and the girls and I met Bob and Mimi at the donut shop, where they meet their friends Bill and Mary (and anyone else who comes in!) every day. Lucy enjoyed her pink sprinkled donut, and the shop owner gave them donut holes when she saw that Samantha hadn’t touched her pink sprinkled donut. Chocolate milk was enjoyed all around.
We finally headed home Tuesday evening after Craig took some youth to visit a local nursing home. On the way back I was counting (we had 6 of 9 meals in community – and 7 if you count dinner with his parents after they got home!) and realized that the community we would like to build could look very much like this: neighbors watching out for each other, feeding each other’s dogs, drinking each other’s beer, (occasionally accidentally feeding each other’s beer to each other’s dogs…) talking, talking, talking. Most of the world’s problems have been solved at least twice on Bob’s back porch. But there is one thing that makes it all happen – people take the step to invite other people to share with them. Then the trust builds, then the back porch is always open. It was a good lesson for me.