Monday, July 04, 2011

One of My Favorite Holidays

I’m a big fan of the fourth. For me, the celebration of American independence is also a celebration of community. It is the quintessential American holiday where we as a tribe of fellow citizens gather together for picnics, parades, and fireworks. This is a warm weather celebration where we can congregate outside and connect .

We attended one of these parties yesterday afternoon and then came home and hosted one for own neighborhood. This year was our fifth annual 3rd celebration. We've always held our party the night before the fourth because nobody ever has to work the next morning. 

I started this party the second summer we were in our new home in Ellicott City. We were one of the first families in what would grow to be sixty single family homes on four new suburban streets with names like Old Valley and Pleasant Path. It was a way to expand on those tentative relationships that formed over that first year at the new bus stop.

Of course we don’t invite all sixty families. At least two homes have gone through foreclosure. A little more than ten percent of the homes are rentals and all of those have cycled through at least one set of families by now. Then there are the families we never see except as they pass by in their cars going to and from presumably work. These people aren’t at the bus stop and they are rarely outdoors. I've attempted to reach out to one of these families that happens to live less than two doors away from us. They've never come. I’ve now stopped inviting them.

It’s still a good representation of our little community. The ten families or so that showed up last night came from all four of those now six year old streets. Though basically socioeconomically equal, race, religion and politics are still fairly diverse. 

The kids who were in elementary school when we started this holiday tradition are now in middle school. The sound of laughter and cheerful screams permeated the entire neighborhood. I’ve noticed that kids in large numbers tend to expand the perimeters of a party.

The last time this many of my neighbors gathered together was the 3rd of July last year. I’m already looking forward to next year.

Happy 4th!
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