Take time for a night of connectionI really see all of my life about connection. I know I am happiest when I feel connected to my husband.
By: Kate Soucheray, Columnist, Woodbury Bulletin
I really see all of my life about connection. I know I am happiest when I feel connected to my husband. When we take the time to care about what’s going on in each others' day, and how those events or activities have affected us, we experience connection. If our kids ask me to make cookies for a bunch of friends coming over to our house that night, I feel more connected to them and their friends. Connection is what makes us a family.
In a similar way, our neighbors can be like family members. In our current society, in which many of us do not live near family, our neighbors can become like stand-in family members. They often know about what happens to us and care about those incidents as much as our own family would.
Next week, we have the opportunity to observe and honor the neighborhood connections we have established here in Woodbury. The event is called “Minnesota Night to Unite,” and will be held on Tuesday evening, August 4.
One of our neighborhood families has been so relaxed and reliable, as they have invited the entire neighborhood over to their house for this night of connection for many years. It is such a wonderful evening to look forward to as we each bring a dish to pass, perhaps a lawn chair, and our desire to reconnect with others from the neighborhood.
The neighbor’s house is always filled with people, lots of great food, and the anticipation of a wonderful evening to share, laugh, and experience the old-fashioned joy of what it is to live in a neighborhood.
I’m sure many of our parents or grandparents could tell us stories of the “good old days” when they did not need a designated evening to gather at someone’s house for a picnic. Rather, it would have been a regular occurrence, and one that was expected as normal and just what they did.
In those days, they would probably tell us, people had less stuff. And everyone was in the same boat. People would bring a dish to pass, probably a hot dish of some sort, someone else would bring their famous dessert, and someone else a salad. All together, it made a meal.
What would have been notable to the people of that by-gone era is that it was not the food that gathered them. It was the laughter, the sense of camaraderie, and the experience that they were all in this together. A burden shared is much lighter, they would have known.
The children of that era would have probably played kick-the-can or flashlight tag. They would have stayed out until after dark and would have felt safe running around the backyards of all the neighbors. These neighbors would have known them like a relative, and cared about them just as much.
It was a different time. It was a time of connection and deep caring that often seems so distant and foreign to us today. With the “Minnesota Night to Unite,” we can re-experience the simplicity of those gatherings of not so long ago. We can take time to stop and sit outside on (hopefully) a beautiful evening with a neighbor and catch up on the latest news.
For more information on the “Minnesota Night to Unite,” please go to the Woodbury website and select “What’s new.”
You will find information about whom to contact for more details as you organize your own neighborhood evening of connection. It will likely prove to be a great evening to remember and enjoy in the months ahead.
Kate Soucheray is a Woodbury resident