October 6, 2014

Saturday in the Park (or Front Yard)

My sweet friend, Galit Breen, began posting about a thing called Friday Night Meatballs, which mainly served to make me want to be her next door neighbor that much more.

But her Friday Night Meatballs really reawakened me to a much simpler time.

When I was younger, it was nothing at all for my own momma to feed the neighborhood ... or for the neighborhood to feed us. I remember specifically one evening she stepped out onto the front lawn and called out that she'd made spaghetti. That night, we had about a gazillion people over for dinner. On another occasion, a neighbor hollered out they were grilling hamburgers (my favorite meal ever!) and, once again, the entire neighborhood gathered to chomp on some grilled goodness.

That was also a time when long distance cost money. If you wanted to send someone a picture, you'd have to take it, send the film off to be developed, mail it and then wait for that person to mail you back a thank you. Or not. Waiting for mail was so danged hard!


Because of technology--which I'm still considering a blessing--we can now send that picture in a millisecond to its intended destination without much effort or expense. However, we spend so much time behind our screens that we don't get much of a chance to fellowship, face-to-face.

Truthfully? Behind-the-screens is where I'm best. I'm an introvert at heart and, while I can address a group of five hundred people keeping their attention for three hours (and have done so before), I'm not good at face-to-face interaction in a smallish group. And meeting someone one-on-one? Unless I know you very, very well? That's my least comfortable position to be in.

But, I find myself craving real-time, real-life fellowship.

Because Brian thrives on social interaction and enjoys face-to-face with total strangers and best of friends alike, he was all about having people over.

"Who do we invite?" I asked.

"Everyone," he said.

"What do we serve?" I asked.

"Let's start with spaghetti and meatballs," he said.

So we did.

Saturday night, we had about thirty-five people over for a front-yard feast.

Thirty-five people? you say. I made over ninety meatballs. True story.

Yep. Some of our favorite people were in our front yard. We had some kids on one end playing football. Some kids on the other playing basketball. Some kids were on the hammock. People were exchanging recipes and marveling at the awesome cheesecake that one can buy frozen at Aldi. Really.
We sat in lawn chairs. We stood together. We played. We laughed. We talked. It was nothing short of a great night.

How do I know it was a great night? I enjoyed it. Everyone mentioned how much they enjoyed it. And, aside from checking a text (but not answering it), I didn't hide behind a screen. Not even to take a picture.

Will we do it again? Absolutely.  But this time, we won't be serving pasta, which requires a crazy cooking method in order to feed a lot of people at the same time.

In fact, Sausage Saturday has a great ring to it.

Who are your neighbors? Who are your real-life friends? When was the last time you hung out with them in your front yard? I encourage you to meet face-to-face ... and put your screens away.


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