Just a week shy of my twenty-ninth birthday, I crossed my first item off the infamous thirty-by-thirty list: hosting a neighborhood picnic.
Here’s how it went down.
Around five o’clock on Sunday morning, as we groggily lay in bed, thunder, lightning, and pouring-down-rain arrived on the scene. We had known for a few days that the forecast wasn’t exactly picnic weather. Unfortunately, considering that when we scheduled the picnic we had been in the middle of drought conditions, we hadn’t thought to communicate inclement weather plans on the invitation. And, to make matters worse, we didn’t have an RSVP list, didn’t know who had been invited word-of-mouth, and didn’t know phone numbers or e-mail addresses of folks in the neighborhood.
So, naturally, we postponed deciding what to do and hoped for the best.
A few hours later, at church, a woman who lives a few blocks from us came over to ask about the picnic. That’s when I learned the invitation had spread a little wider than anticipated. It turns out that some folks who were working to organize a neighborhood watch group spread the word among their members and also invited a representative from the Sheriff’s office to come and talk at the picnic.
Upon hearing this news, we realized we couldn’t get away with cancelling the picnic, even with terrible weather. Nope. Not with the Sheriff’s office getting involved!
And so I crossed my fingers and checked weather.com every few hours.
As we waited, the morning rain stopped, the roads dried off, and the storms in the forecast for the evening got pushed back to 7 pm.
Then 8 pm.
Then 9 pm.
Around 5 pm, the sun made an appearance, and it was downright toasty. We started setting up food tables and a handful of folding chairs. We fired up the grill.
At 6 pm, people we didn’t know–and an enormous amount of food–began to arrive…
except, as it turns out, there were some people we did know in this bunch:
– a teller at our local bank (“I didn’t know you lived in my neighborhood!” she exclaimed when she saw me)
– the woman who walks her dog around our block at least a dozen or so times each day
– a young couple Jonathan sees every day on his walk to campus
– people from our church
– the single dad down the street
– the neighbors right beside us
– the neighbors with the pool behind us
– a guy who ran in one of our local elections
And lots and lots of kids.
It was a good evening, full of quirky people–fifty folks in all, sitting in a circle, eating food, talking about neighborhood safety.
Just another glimpse of community on an otherwise normal Sunday night, reminding me that God has a sense of humor.
Just another reason I have this blog, reminding me to see those glimpses.
Just another reason I made that list.
Have you made yours yet?