July, the heart of summer. A time for bike rides, mid-day porch swings, rocking chairs, and picnics. All the things that make up little memories throughout the summer. We make memories with bigger events too. Times that we gather, to celebrate or to just enjoy longer summer days together.
A girlfriend and I recently went to a vintage event and found ourselves back at my house around lunchtime. It was such a beautiful day, all of our teenagers were off doing their own thing, so we decided to impromptu have lunch. Nothing was planned, so I scrounged in my fridge and pantry and put out an assortment of cheese, olives, bread and spreads and we relaxed on my front porch. It was the best lunch! A friend drove by and honked, so we called her to join us. Even though she couldn’t that day, we decided to have a “porch party” the next Friday.
The following Friday, with a little more planning, we had more friends and new neighbors stop by, more food and cocktails, and enjoyed each others company and conversation. Something simple without much prep turned into a wonderful time of connecting with others and has become a new tradition.
Every town seems to have a big festival or special day they celebrate. Our family lives in the beach town of Grand Haven, also know as Coast Guard City USA. We celebrate the Coast Guard for an entire week and it culminates on the last day with a 2 hour parade, plenty of block parties, and the best fireworks show synchronized with music that I have ever seen! The atmosphere is festive and friendly. Impromptu driveway parties pop up between neighbors, quiet streets from no traffic become loud as people call out to each other while riding or walking by, parties are planned and everything red, white, and blue is rolled out. We celebrate the men and women that serve at our Coast Guard base, we celebrate the freedom our armed forces gives us, and we celebrate our town.
We live in the midst of the chaos that week can bring and we love it. We love it! We love riding our tandem bike everywhere and everyone waves back. We love running into friends and neighbors and instead of a quick wave or hello, we stop and have lengthy conversations. Or people just walking by stop and stay a while on our porch. Home town festivals can bring out the hospitality and friendliness in us all. They can force us to slow down and actually get to know our neighbors. And they can help us celebrate and appreciate the great towns we live in instead of just rushing through them to our places of work, school, and errands.
Whether impromptu or planned, the times that we slow down and take the time to gather are not only fun times of celebration but can turn into great memories as well.
How do you plan to celebrate this month or make time to gather?