** I've been thinking about community this week as we are in the midst of the holidays which can be a difficult and lonely time for some people . . . so I thought I'd share a piece I wrote a while back about Community, Baseball and Neighborhood Potlucks. **
Ten years ago, in the midst of a deep depression and failing marriage, I told myself this story: In order for a marriage (with kids) to succeed, you need to have family around to help raise them, allow for affordable date nights and keep you generally sane. To some extent I think it’s true . . . having family nearby when raising small children is a blessing. Unfortunately we didn’t have that luxury as we lived in Seattle and our closest family was in Eugene, Oregon (where I was born and raised), and Hawaii. What’s curious about this story though is that when I was growing up, we didn’t have family close by and my parents are still happily married. Hmmmm.
My Dad (a Biology Professor at the University of Oregon) is an only child, and when I was young his nearest family was his Dad and Stepmother, who lived in Florida. My Mom (a Pharmacist who also holds a PhD in Biology) is one of seven (7!) kids, and had embarked on an adventure at 27 that brought her from Paris, France all the way to Oregon, then meeting and marrying my Dad shortly thereafter. Soooo Yeah . . . no immediate family in the vicinity.
What was cool about my parents though, was that they created something even better for themselves . . . through community. Whether it was Church (Catholic for my Mom, Unitarian for my Dad), Folk Dancing, or my Dad’s co-workers – all of whom were brilliant, quirky, creative scientists – these people became our community, our village, our Family.
It was through the science crowd (many of whom lived in our neighborhood) that somehow a monthly neighborhood potluck was born. Over time it grew to not only include those fun mycologists and biologists, but other neighbors as well. Everyone took turns hosting and it was a great mix of people, conversation and food. Don’t get me wrong, there was always at least one truly odd dish – I believe our family started using the phrase “Culinary Nadir” around this time. But mostly it was a great spread, and in a pinch we could always depend on my Mom’s soup + French bread, or finger food (“Walk-Aways” were a favorite potluck contribution) to fill us up. I’m sure as a teenager there were times when I was resistant to the potluck, but as an adult I have such fond memories of those gatherings . . . it was genius.
Getting back to that struggle a decade ago . . . I did find my family/community eventually (though it didn’t save the marriage) in the most curious of places – at the baseball field. Given the number of hours I spent there along with the good fortune of having kids with lovely parents on our team, it was inevitable. Since then I’ve been far more aware of the importance of community, and its’ healing abilities to prevent loneliness and depression. I’ve found “my people” at the gym, knitting on Monday nights and through my life-coach training program. Not to mention the greater-creative-network of people I’ve met at art-retreats over the last five years . . . they span the globe! While there is nothing wrong with virtual community, I do have to remind myself periodically that there is no substitute for meeting with friends in person, catching up eye-to-eye, over some good food. Bring back the monthly potluck, I say! It would make the world a happier place.
Do you have a good sense of community? Who are your "people"? Are you looking to create more connections in your life? Drop me a quick note and we can schedule a free 1/2 hour call to discuss some ideas on how to make that happen!
Love and Light,
1/4 cup warm water
1/8 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp yeast.
Mix to dissolve yeast
2 cups of flour (1 whole wheat, 1 white)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs slightly beaten
Combine and let rise 30 minutes.
Roll out dough in a 9 x 11 pan, spread filling on top, roll again to enclose filling.
Bake at 375 for 25 to 30 minutes.
Dessert filling: 8 ounces cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar creamed together.
Add grated orange peel, poppy seeds or ground walnuts, or sesame seeds.
Savory filling: 2 onions sautéed in butter, Swiss cheese, Parmesan, parsley, basil, paprika, sour cream, salt and pepper.
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