Patty Unleashed

Patty Unleashed: 10.23.19

I am a sucker for any news segment Harry Smith or Lester Holt report on Today. Even though Lester does the evening news for NBC, when they bring him on in the morning, you know it’s for a feel good story. The other day, Harry caused me to stand still for an entire 3-minute segment and then go watch it again online. It was a story about loving our neighbors.

For those of you who follow my column, you know my rule about neighbors: Keep it cordial, say hello and wave when you see them, but it’s not necessary to get overly involved. The houses in my neighborhood are close together, which means I can see into my neighbor’s kitchen. It’s hard to have privacy, so I decided when we moved into our house 14 years ago, I just wouldn’t bother getting to know anyone in the neighborhood. This can be embarrassing at times. At a Town&Style holiday party, I found out our fashion editor lives three houses down from me. Oh, and she knew my husband and dogs because, unlike me, they have not taken this vow of privacy. It’s not like I’ve made my house look scary from the outside to keep people away. It has window boxes with flowers, and the lawn is always mowed; I just might not open my door if you knock on it.

But good old Harry has made me rethink my whole position with his 3-minute report. You see, he talked about this father/daughter business in Dallas that builds these huge tables ( with matching benches that are meant to be placed in your backyard. The purpose is for you to host pot luck meals with your neighbors, friends, acquaintances and even people you don’t know. Everyone sits together, enjoying a meal and talking. Nothing fancy. It’s just food and beverages everyone brings to share. What a simple idea. The first time they tried it, 91 people showed up, which tells you that either they over-invited or there are lots of people who want to connect with others.

I always have been a party planner and hostess extraordinaire. The past couple of years, my migraines have made it a bit harder, but I do love to bring people together. I love the holidays and all of the family gatherings. I am usually the first to volunteer to throw a shower or an engagement party, or even to just tell people to come over to swim and eat hot dogs. But these are all people I know. No real strangers.

And that’s why I guess this idea intrigues me so much. Oh, I talk to strangers all the time. I can’t stand in line without talking to someone, but over the past few years, I’ve found myself being very careful about what I say. In no way do I want to talk politics. I am too much of a smart aleck not to give my opinion. Things have gotten so ugly and divisive that even talking about the weather can be dicey. If I’m in a long enough line, I’ll talk about Iceland and the glaciers, and next thing you know … climate change! Yes, the problem here is me and my mouth.

According to the company’s website, no one from Missouri has ordered a table. I keep thinking maybe I should be the first. The website says, ‘We can live in love. We can live in fear.’ I’m not yet sure which one I am going to choose.