Friday, September 5, 2008

Inviting Neighbors to Dinner

My friend, Drew, who lives in Herndon, a sprawling suburb of DC, told me this weekend that he has only been invited to eat dinner at a neighbor's house once over the past six years. "It's no way to live," he says. "I don't feel connected to anyone there." He noted also that when he lived in the suburbs as a kid, 40 years ago, people invited others to dinner all the time. "It's not necessarily the burbs," he said. "It's just that people don't think to do it any more. Or maybe they don't have the energy or time."

Our neighborhood of North Fork (outside of Purcellville VA) is a pleasant exception. We get invited to the neighbors frequently. Halloween parties . . . Christmas parties . . . SuperBowl parties . . . hunt tailgates . . . barbeques in the summer . . . bonfires in the fall. My husband and I noticed that we haven't seen a few of our friends in months, since everyone has been traveling and busy this summer, so we're inviting three couples over to our home this weekend to catch up.

I think that invitations to dinners and parties are vital to creating Place. Especially when we add our own personal flare. Trish, a neighbor who unfortunately has moved away, used to invite neighbors over for wine and food all the time. And I remember once she didn't have the time to make dinner so she ordered pizza; she created a special experience for all of us by serving the slices on her best china and pouring us a local wine in crystal goblets. The fire was going in the fireplace, and we had a wonderful conversation. It doesn't necessarily take a lot of money to create Place and community, but it certainly takes care and attention. And food is always a good excuse to show both.

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