One day when I was 4, my mother decided it was time to learn my address and took me outside to look at our front door. She pointed out each number nailed to the dark green middle panel before walking me to the corner and showing me the name on the street sign. After repeating to her the number on the house with the street name, she congratulated me on learning my address. We then went inside, and I “wrote” a letter to my grandmother, putting the concept of an address into practice. (Apparently when we walked down the street to slip the letter in a blue USPS mailbox, I asked her about a minute later if she thought my grandmother had received it yet; I then learned about the role — and timeframe — of a mailman.)
The truth is that your address is so much more than the name of a street and the number of a house; your address defines your home in a neighborhood.
COVID-19 has brought a whole new dimension to the meaning of “neighbor.” When traditional social gatherings were stripped away this past spring, we opened our eyes to the people around us — to those who are almost literally in our own backyard. The bygone days of a slower Southern culture with time to pause and chat in the street, in the yard, or on the front porch were suddenly resurrected. I took a walk with a friend in her neighborhood early one evening in April and was amazed at the number of people walking and visiting on that street. It was practically an impromptu block party for more than a mile!
Neighbors offer an opportunity for unstructured, unplanned fellowship — from commiserating on the weather and apologizing for your dog, to deeper conversations of journeying through life together. Neighbors give the chance to share food made from scratch, local news updates, and maybe the occasional neighborhood gossip.
Kilbourne Park is a particularly tight-knit community in Columbia. Pre-COVID, they were hosting at least four block parties a year in addition to sporting a strong culture of fellowship and general friendliness all year long. This precious neighborhood is but a microcosm of the many intimately bonded communities we are lucky enough to have here in the Midlands. Read about this one area’s festivities on page 60 and perhaps glean inspiration for your next COVID-friendly neighborhood get-together!
Whether for a borrowed cup of sugar or for a friendly smile in passing, good neighbors are an invaluable blessing — wherever you live.