After complaining about routine a few days ago, I thought I’d write about a wonderful routine breaker I enjoyed just a few nights ago. Of course, since it happens only once a year, its good effects won’t be long lasting.
My wife and I live in a mobile home park. As you know if you’ve been following me recently, ours is far nicer than a “trailer park” and shouldn’t be thought of that way.
We have well over a hundred homes in our community, and the management does a great job of promoting a sense of community.
Several nights ago was our sixth or seventh annual Neighborhood Night Out. Or is it “National Night Out”? Either way, the only thing I can complain about is the fact that several smokers (very few people in the crowd were) smoked too close to me. I’m very allergic and still felt all clogged up the next day.
One thing that probably distinguishes our NNO from “block parties” elsewhere is the lack of alcohol.
It was a wonderful family event. Although everyone brings a covered dish–most of them with something inside–the park management gets contributions from a number of local businesses. So along with hamburgers and hotdogs we had pizza and subs.
Because of the number of Latino folks living here, a number of the dishes were quite a change from the normal fare.
The main attraction of the evening was the talent show. Several of us adults participated. I did a couple of my original songs, another fellow played a keyboard solo, and a couple did a line dance. All the more amazing because the lady wears a knee brace.
But the kids were what everyone was waiting for. They did a little bit of everything. Some sang along with recordings and some sang to what I assume were karaoke soundtracks. Some proved to be excellent little dancers, too, and you wouldn’t believe how nicely these children dressed up for their performances.
One of the older boys who didn’t appear to be a part of the actual talent stayed busy working as a stage hand, getting microphone stands in place and adjusted for the next act.
The manager of the park was applauded not just for all the work she and her husband had done, but for her statement that she and her family planned to live in the park forever. It says something good about a place when someone in her position says that and obviously means it. (She and her husband recently bought a bigger mobile home and are renting out their old one.)
One of the nice aspects of the Neighborhood Night Out is the support of the local law enforcement community. We always have five or six officers–plus McGruff, the poor lady dressed in the dog outfit. It’s a great way for people–especially kids–to be around policemen in a non-threatening atmosphere.
We also had a local politician this year.
I don’t know about anyone else, but it’s events like this that make me appreciate our special little community all the more. And to appreciate my neighbors all the more, too.
Do you have anything similar where you live? Is it similar to ours? Please share in a comment.
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“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”—check it out here. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list here.