It’s not about the sherry, is it?

I am going to ask you all to do something that might make some of you really excited, and will make some of you want to curse out loud.

Ready? In October, I’d like each one of us to host a block party.

“Yippee! How fun!” yell exactly half of you. The remaining half are now breaking out in red splotches, and wondering “What the….?  Why, why, why am I still reading?” 

OK. Let’s all calm down and consider what might be the very best way to meet all your actual neighbors while enjoying a beautiful autumn evening?  

Am I right?  Do you see fried chicken on that plate?  Can I hear an amen!

When our family moved to Austin, we hosted a block party on our cul-de-sac. It turns out it was the first one, ever. Neighbors assembled on the street who had rarely spoken to one another, despite living next door to each other for years. This was not due to hard feelings or mean spirits, just a result of very busy schedules, and widely different social circles.

We had our first street potluck on an early Sunday evening in October.

Hali Wang made her famous pot-stickers, the Fyfe family brought a hundred popsicles, and Mr. George brought a special bottle of vintage sherry. Much thanks to my very-special-agent, who mentioned to dear George that “Kim just loves your special sherry….” (I really, really don’t)it is now a block party tradition – nine years later – that Mr George always brings sherry, and never lets my glass get too dry.

But it’s not about the sherry, is it?  Or whether the food is five-star, or if there are twelve taco salads, or if the kids don’t get a balanced meal. It’s about the people in your ‘hood.

There are no accidents in this life, and where the LORD has physically placed you to live, and with whom, is no coincidence.  God has planted you on your street, in your community, to know those around you and to be known. 

So whether you are a veteran party planner, or this will be your maiden voyage, let’s do this thing!  Here are a few tips to get you rolling in the right direction:

1.  Pick a day in October. Don’t worry if everyone can make it  – just pick a day and go       with it. Friday early evenings or Sunday late-afternoons seem to work well for us?

2.  I hope this is obvious, but please invite everyone on the street.

3.  Make simple invitations (the kids usually do these) and hand deliver them. A personal invitation, especially when done with Crayola crayons and a piece of ribbon, is so rare these days.

4.  Keep it simple, casual, no fuss, and outside if you can. Everyone brings their own chairs, drinks, and something to share. We usually provide the paper products, trash can, and ice.

5.  Enjoy! This is a time to begin relationships in order to know, serve and love our neighbors well.   Trust me, it’s not hard and it’s a delight to know your neighbors better.

And that’s it! Are you with me? Can’t wait to hear about it.

Great joy to you in all your preparations to be a good neighbor!

Kim

4 responses to It’s not about the sherry, is it?

  1. Judy Lavery says:

    It’s great to get to know your neighbors! Every year my husband and I host an ice cream social for our street on the Sunday evening before Halloween. We pass out fliers door to door, and tell people they don’t need to bring anything. We hold the party in our driveway, and just put out ice cream, various toppings and bowls and spoons. Super easy (but, yes, it can spoil dinner). People can drop by quickly if they like. The ice cream social has helped build relationships, and then you know each other a bit better when you do trick-or-treating the next week.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Amen! Looking forward to hearing some testimonies…

  3. Linda Gupton says:

    Kim, some of the best memories we have of our old neighborhood in Raleigh come from the block parties we held and the group dinners that were spontaneously organized after Hurricane Fran hit. Now we do a twice yearly covered dish and bonfire on our farm since it’s harder for people to get an hour north to where we are. I love you idea and hope everyone takes you up on the challenge!

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