The Apostrophe Blog
Photo by Mack Male
We held a neighborhood potluck party today. First one since the scourge of COVID-19 forced us all to stay far and away from one another for a few too many years.
What an utterly delightful (and delicious) afternoon of sharing food, conversation, and laughter. Memories and reminiscences since some of our neighbors have been on these blocks for over fifty! years! New friendships and connections. Remembrances of beloved neighbors no longer with us. Complaints about rats, squirrels, raccoons, and outdoor cats. Also, lots of glasses raised.
Did I mention the awesome food? Burgers, brats, marinated grilled ribs, corn previously boiled in coconut milk before being finished on the grill, vegetarian options of course. And, not to be forgotten, neighbor Gretchen brought her super-awesome magic baked beans! Then there were homemade eclairs for dessert thanks to Kurumi. How lucky are we?
Here in one of the last? only? proudly! diverse corners of Portland, Oregon, we celebrated the good fortune we all feel living here on this street that is the border between the Concordia and Woodlawn neighborhoods. Where people welcome newcomers (a new neighbor only here for a month!) and folks who move away are forever welcomed back. Neighbors who cover the gamut of professions/former professions: UPS driver, stage hand, architect, research scientist, accountant, Teamster, IT professional, psychologist, paralegal, race car tire engineer, opera chorus singer, worker in the office of the priest at a nearby Catholic church, doctor, lawyer, contractor, Black Panther, hiker, gardener, composer, artist, musician, poet—the list is far from complete.
Kindness. Generosity. Sharing. Welcoming those known as well as those formerly seen as strangers. These are the values modeled by an event like the one we all shared this afternoon and into the evening. These days this kind of gathering seems exceptional perhaps even mildly radical. And, it seems to me, the real question to be asked is why?