As I’ve mentioned in a number of previous blogs, I live in a wooded subdivision located a few miles outside Austin, Texas. Yesterday our voluntary home owners association held our Spring street party and potluck dinner. It was supposed to take place out on the wide cul-de-sac in front of my home, but the already hot sun changed the plan a bit. As people from the neighborhood began arriving we set up tables for the food and coolers filled with beer and soft drinks in a small space among the trees in my front yard. Every family brought a food item and their own folding chairs. This year live entertainment was even provided by a talented teenager who sang and played guitar. We’ve been having these get-togethers for a few years now and have the routine down pretty well.
This tradition originally started as part of the National Night Out. That first time years ago we gathered on my back porch and followed all the suggested procedures for that national celebration. It went fairly well, but we were soon reminded that we were in Texas and it was the 3rd of August. As a neighbor and I grilled hot dogs, the thermometer on my wooden deck registered 104 degrees. Afterward there was a collective decision that getting neighbors together was a great idea, but maybe we didn’t have to so precisely follow the national rules. We now plan our events for the Spring and Fall seasons.
This year we had a good turnout. Everyone enjoyed barbeque and sampling all the great side dishes and desserts folks brought with them. As you can see from the photo above, the setting was a bit rough, nestled in among the scraggily mountain cedars near the road. I provided the sticks with reflectors in the foreground to warn everyone away from a fire ant bed I had failed to notice ahead of time. Fortunately that worked; no one was stung. As the sun was beginning to set, a coyote even wandered up and checked out the festivities. The smell of smoked brisket was probably what drew him so close, but the critter wandered peacefully away. Ah, life in the suburbs.
Everyone had a great time and caught up on all the local goings-on. Like most neighborhoods we have our disagreements from time to time, like the newcomer who recently set things off by announcing his plan to construct a pistol shooting range in his three acre back yard. Turns out someone failed to include anything about that sort of thing in the original deed restrictions. Those sorts of confrontations are what I think put the “division” in subdivision. We’ll all work it out one way or another. And most of us who share this wonderful place will continue to plan our semi-annual street parties.
Have a happy summer.
Norm Brown is the author of the suspense novel Carpet Ride, published by Secondwind Publishing, LLC.