2017-12-07 / Opinions

Neighborhood peace and harmony should be an annual affair

By LORAN SMITH
columnist

This is the way it was on Thanksgiving, just two weeks ago, at a neighbor’s house when an impromptu party blossomed into a lively get together and confirmed how festive a holiday can be in a laid back setting and reminded us how mobile our society has become.

Mike and Jennifer Fitzgerald, who on holidays are sometimes afflicted by cenosillicaphobia (fear of an empty glass although that might even flummox Mr. Google) were accompanied by neighbor Tootsie Adams in hosting a covered dish afternoon bash which featured more calories than an S&S Cafeteria. Nobody cared about that.

Participating were adults, children and grandchildren, one of whom is likely to be around when social security runs out – not to put a damper on such a convivial occasion. The scene was as smashing as the gregarious participants themselves. It wasn’t loud – nobody’s nerves were compromised – but spirit raising and fulfilling.

The backside of the Fitzgerald residence has a Garden&Gun look. Expansive patio, anchored by a fireplace which is adjacent to an overflowing wood rack that allows for feeding robust flames that bring about an underscoring of love and laughter. Made one think of that long ago Coca Cola commercial when all the peoples of the world joined together in song, warming our hearts and massaging hopes for peace and goodwill.

There were pockets of conversations here and there with football on TV, as one of our own was doing his best to give his team a lift and in the process give one to an entire city. Detroit needs Matt Stafford to put the Lions on his shoulders and take them to glory – glory being pride and respect for a city that needs no more emotional taxation. However, it was not to be, leaving us melancholy and with temporary lamentations.

We were enjoying the handiwork of a neighbor who can fix anything around the house – perhaps not as universal as his predecessor, Agnew Peacock, but certainly more than passable. It should be noted that Fitz is just as versatile when he takes over a kitchen. He is a man who can edge a driveway to perfection and fashion shelving to accommodate things that are principally used in the great outdoors – fishing and hunting gear, making him the envy of all outdoorsmen. He was in an accommodating mood, even though at the crack of dawn the next day, he would be winging his way, with his son Michael, to some no name place in Arkansas where he would be killing ducks as if they were unlimited. Before spring is confirmed, there will be a duck supper, and I am gratified that my name will be on the guest list.

Thanksgiving fulfillment was reached before the sun set, and while a roll call might test the limits of memory, there was Flo who danced with the New York ballet for years but now helps middle aged upstarts and others keep their waistlines under control with her pilates instruction – in Atlanta. Demi, recently advanced from coed status, now makes Manhattan her home, but can’t wait to return to her roots on Milledge Circle. There was Hayes from Medford, Oregon and sister, Ellie, who has made a contribution to the serendipitous success of Georgia’s football team. She tutors Bulldog football players.

That made us bow in reverence, remembering her late grandfather, John Henry Terrell, who was, perhaps, the greatest Bulldog aficionado I ever knew. Linda, a pretty grandmother, as refreshing as wildflowers on a mountainside – content to let granddaughter Callaway occupy her time amid buzzing hospitality, Stafford’s Lions on television and mealtime extravagance.

Randall and Tyler from Charleston, Callaway’s parents, represented the rest of the youth movement as the afternoon sun segued into twilight, allowing for a long standing tribute to such social excellence: “A good time was enjoyed by all.”

As darkness approached, after enough NFL was enough, it was time to put another log on the fire and absorb what had happened. The good neighbor policy still exists, but perhaps on too small of a scale. Nothing accents peace and harmony like a wood burning fireplace. Food, fellowship, Napa, and Bordeaux are always an enviable and hospitable foursome.

Nobody lit up a cigarette. Profanity never breached the atmosphere and everybody took turns holding Callaway, who knows how to high five and offer a fist bump at 18 months of age.

Now if we can just prevail upon the hosts to make this a annual affair! Selah!

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