When we first moved into our community, about eight years ago, the couple who owned the home immediately behind ours seemed to be on a quest to make everyone miserable. In almost two decades of marriage, the only time I have heard my husband yell was at an HOA meeting. There was an issue with these neighbors and a tree.
These neighbors took over the Facebook group that our community used to share news. Whereas before the page was mostly a collection of people mentioning when their AC repair technician was going to be parked in the shared driveway, it became a litany of grievances ranging from who didn’t bring their empty recycling bin in fast enough to who wasn’t helping with putting up holiday decorations. As a result, most people kept to themselves. About two years ago, the offending couple sold their home and left.
As with just about every facet of life, COVID has changed the dynamic in our community. Back in June, I ended up going to the mailboxes at the same time as my neighbor from across the drive. We had an extended (socially distanced) chat during which another one of our neighbors stopped by the mailboxes. It was really nice. I suggested that it might be even more fun with adult beverages and camping chairs. We agreed that later in the week, we’d all emerge from our garages at the same time and visit. Thus was born our now weekly community happy hour.
In the midst of everything that is going on, I’ve found that I treasure these hour-or-so-long visits. We sit in a large circle and just chat. We’ve swapped recipes, offered suggestions for good places to get takeout, and shared lots of great stories. I hope this event continues after this era is past.