With a flurry of email and text messages, our group organized an impromptu party for the Fourth of July. People came from five of the six homes on this street. Not bad for six hours’ notice! Everyone brought something for the dinner, so we had quite a spread. The people who bought Amy’s house were here, meeting most of the others for the first time. It was so much fun to hear people sharing things about themselves.
Shawn and Bob brought a watermelon, and I was glad she asked him to cut it. He did a beautiful job, filling one bowl with picture-perfect slices and another with chunks that were easy to eat.
As Bob finished, I said, “Wow! You are house trained!” He rinsed all the utensils he used and then wiped down the counter. In all my born days, I can’t remember seeing a man clean the counter where he had worked.
Five in the crowd don’t know that I write in a public place, so because I don’t have their permission to share, I’ll use just initials. The most effervescent was F. She could turn the simplest story into an entertaining tale, embellishing it with animated gestures. Her husband, S, could carry on a good conversation face to face, but he yielded the stage to her. No one minded.
The new neighbors grew up in Minnesota and moved to the next town, Maggie Valley, nine years ago. J is a runner, and he asked if there were a circular route he could take that would be about seven miles long. We thought we were good to walk regularly, but he is in a class by himself. Someone said he runs up Qualla, the steep hill that I love to complain about.
Many conversations circled around to Shawn and Bob, the first ones to build on the street. He built their house, as well as the one next to it. They knew the histories of all the houses and the people in them.
I wish I could remember all the things we laughed about, but only one stuck in my mind. Joyce said to Bob, “I have a little bit of money to spend on the house, so would you look at my garage again?”
Bob said, “Wait until you have a LOT of money and then ask me.” Of course, he went on to say that he would be glad to see what she needed.
I felt the group was convivial, all nine of us joining in the conversation. Meanwhile, the young men and Logan ate on the porch where they could be as loud as they wanted. During the heat of the late afternoon, Dennis opened the water slide and set it up. Logan was delighted with it. The slide was a bit short and flimsy for the big boys, but it seemed just right for a six-year-old.
Before dark, Bob took the young set to Lake Junaluska to see the fireworks. They thought the show was good, but not long enough. Meanwhile, Joyce and Shawn sat on the porch with us after everyone else left. I love it when a party ends by degrees, not abruptly.