This past Sunday my wife and I had a fabulous time hosting a cookout, or bbq. We invited people from the neighborhood, people from our church community and other friends to join in on the fun. It was pretty amazing, as we had everything from a moon bounce to cornhole to a teeter totter to side walk chalk to lots and lots of food. While we were enjoying ourselves a few other families passing by joined in on the festivities as well. One of the wives passing by asked us whose birthday we were celebrating, to which I replied no ones. She then asked if it was an annual tradition, to which I replied "nope." I explained that some of the people were church friends but many of the people were from the neighborhood and that we were just enjoying the evening together. As her and her husband and child were getting ready to leave (after a game or two of cornhole and some food), she asked if she could be put on the email list so they would know when future events were happening.
As most other people were leaving (5 hours later) they were asking when we were thinking of doing it again. One of my neighbors who helped me get everything ready laughingly commented on how everyone thought we put so much energy and effort into the evening. The truth is it was so easy that my wife decided we need to do it at least once a month.
It is amazing how much people enjoy getting together for food and fun. They will even do it with people they have never met before! Even smart and not so smart people can do it together while enjoying conversation with one another. I discovered two of my neighbors (who did not know each other beforehand) are PhD's from Yale. And I enjoyed conversation with both :).
It almost makes you wonder, "What could one do if they simply invested time in nurturing community life in a neighborhood?"