Rock that block
Monday September 05th 2011, 11:13 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends

Maybe a dozen years ago, a couple of older neighbors were reminiscing over days past when there were a ton of kids in the neighborhood and how much everybody knew everybody back in the day. They missed that.

So let’s do something about it! And so the more gregarious of the two took on the task to walk house to house, getting names, phone numbers, email contacts. They launched our first neighborhood block party. A nearby cul-de-sac was closed off and the owners cleared their cars out of the way, a bounce house and a cotton candy machine were rented for the little ones, barbecue grills were rolled forward from backyards and volunteers manning them presented themselves as a happy captive audience for anyone who wanted to come chat over the chicken vs over there at the rent-a-tables.

And just about every year since then, Labor Day has meant block party day, officially 4-7 but that always stretches till dark, not to be missed.

Richard took my dessert over there, a pluot crisp that I found out later had had the neighbors playing guess-that-fruit. “That was GOOD!”

I waited till a sun-safer 6, then strolled over there too.

My sweetie talked with one fellow about the ham radio/disaster services volunteer work they both do. Meantime, I got cornered by an elderly man whom I am inwardly delighted each year to see he’s still with us: he moved in here when these houses were built in the mid-1950’s.

Only–last year the organizers had both had family conflicts with the date, it had been moved around and finally the party had landed on a day I couldn’t make it. I could have shown up for just the very last few minutes, but I let it go.

And he knew I had not come and he remembered my health was rocky. I have no memory of ever discussing it with him; maybe a chance comment from someone else when we didn’t show?  Whatever–it had meant something to him and he had carried that forward for the whole year.

I was amazed he noticed. Here I was, having to read his name tag yet again despite knowing who he was, and I was quite sorry to have caused him concern.

“It’s good to see you here,” I told him.

He knew exactly what I meant, nodding and looking me steadily in the eye, returning the sentiment.

I had not expected to come away feeling so important. I do believe he did too.

More neighbors. More chatting. Come to find out the sister of one of the burger flippers–call them grilly men, Ahnuld–had also volunteered on a peregrine nest cam. Cool! And he was a bird lover too. Finding out about my feeders, he exclaimed, “So that’s where all my finches and chickadees have gone! I love those chickadees!”

Sorryyyy… Honest, I’ll share…  He got in some good teases about that.

Another neighbor started telling me about her own birdfeeder, but–those squirrels! She admitted with a laugh and a very sheepish look that she kept a supersoaker by the back door to teach them what’s what. She felt much better when I laughed, “You too?!” We swapped a few squirrel-antics stories.

Barbara pulled me over to the bounce house so she could show off her grandsons hopping and bopping to the crocodile rock.

Because one of the neighbors was in an a cappela band, and they performed for us for the fun of it.

And one of the people in that band, not a neighbor, was surprised to see my Richard there, and he to see her: Valerie! Rich! They used to work together when we first moved to California. We had gone to hear her perform at her you’re-great-but-don’t-quit-your-day-job, oh, must be at least 15 years ago now.

Reunion time. He pulled up a chair and sat right at the front and clapped the loudest of all.

4 Comments so far
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Aren’t those just the best memories? This year at our reunion I spent some time with a cousin that I hadn’t seen much over the years. Even had a pic with him. Now that’s a good memorie.

Comment by pat Flores 09.06.11 @ 3:11 am

Beautiful. I get some “reunion” time this Saturday… another of my mother’s cousins died over the weekend. His widow has always been a favorite of mine; he was too.

Comment by Channon 09.06.11 @ 6:38 am

Fun, fun, fun! But no fair stealing other people’s birds! Squirrels, yes; birds, no.

Comment by Don Meyer 09.06.11 @ 9:05 am

Our neighborhood block party is Sunday afternoon–in front of our house. But we had one of the big neighborhood events this morning–the elementary school bus stop on the first day of school. Some parents had a grill and were cooking pancakes, bacon, and sausage. It was quite an event.

Comment by LauraN 09.06.11 @ 12:38 pm

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