We are so lucky.
We found our town almost by accident. We’d been looking for houses but never found a place that really clicked. We called a friend when we were in the area, who was at another person’s house and asked us to drop in. Little did we know we were about to crash a birthday party.
We had no present.
We only knew one person there.
We’d forgotten our diapers and had to borrow one.
But these people welcomed us anyway. While we were there we met a ton of other people. They were like us in a way. Smart, funny, creative, interesting people. Many with young kids. We couldn’t put a name to it, we only knew it felt like a community. So then we looked for houses only here, in the North End.
Yesterday was our community garden’s annual party. It was incredible. The clouds had been threatening rain all afternoon. Every few minutes I felt a drop, but it never broke. The sunflowers towered over our heads.
Everywhere I looked I saw perfect, and I mean magazine-spread-beautiful produce: tomatillos, tomatoes of every size, color, and variation of ripeness, herbs, cucumbers, eggplant, watermelons, and more. A Dixieland Jazz Band played and marched all over the garden with families and kids dancing behind. When they played When the Saints Come Marching In we ripped it up.
I watched the boys chase their friends around and around the garden paths, wishing I’d dressed them in brighter colors so they’d be easier to spot. The kids spent the evening ducking under tables, resting on chairs to exchange secrets, marching behind the band, playing instruments (somehow Willy stuck his head in a tuba) and begging for cake.
Kids from the neighborhood passed appetizers around. As I looked around I realized how many people I knew after living here for just a year. So many faces from that first party that I now knew well. It was heartening to look around and realize how many friends were there.
A couple with their new baby. Some kids I met when I took my bug collection to the elementary school. All the people from our little corner of the 'hood. The mayor. The principle who knows our kids by their first names, even though they haven’t started at his school yet. The community organizer who made it all happen.
The moms who commiserated with me over a glass of wine. A neighbor who, after years of work, completed her high school diploma. Then there’s couple I met at the garden who shared their tomato plants with me. I saw some of the kids from our mentoring program—many the first in their family to go to college.
The woman who I talked with about the South as we planted our crops months ago. The master gardeners, whose plots look like works of art, who are warm and kind to people like me whose plot looks more like a pile of compost.
All threads that are a part of the tapestry that makes up our community.