A man, a ten dollar grill and an open invitation.
It is a thing of wonder that a ten dollar grill can take folks who've been strangers all winter and turn them into neighbors in Spring. All it takes is an open invitation, a few chairs, a cooler full of cold beverages and the next thing you know, people are coming out of their apartments, throwing food on the grill and getting to know one another. By the time the day ended there was a sense of community at the apartment complex and everyone was already talking about the next get together.
Even, Leon, came out and joined in the fun.
Leon is a bit of a recluse and really doesn't come out of his apartment much unless he's headed to the store to pick up another forty-ounce, Steel Reserve, beer. He's a Veteran. Leon was in the Marine Corps and doesn't talk about his service to our country at all, ever. It was an honor to have him come out and join us during our Memorial Day celebration. It really made everyone think about the sacrifices the men and women who serve our country make for us when the don the uniform and take on the responsibility of fighting to keep our country free.
Every good cook-out needs a good wing-man.
Turns out that, Brad, is as much a grill enthusiast as I am myself and his talent for creating glazes and sauces is second to none. I'll admit to picking up a few ideas I'd never thought of before and in future cook-outs I'll be adding a number of new concepts I learned from him during this one. The two of us kept the grill cooking for hours and no one was turned away or went home hungry.
Ying, serving up slices of ice-cold melon.
After a good meal the grown ups sat around talking while the kids played with the garden hose. It was a perfect ending to a perfect day. Slices of ice-cold watermelon were passed around to finish off our communal feast and everyone agreed, the first melon of the season is always the sweetest. This morning everyone greeted their neighbors with cheery hellos and talk about the cook-out. There's a new-found sense of community in our apartment complex, one that I hope to continue watch grow as the summer continues to unfold. Sometimes all it takes to spark an event is a grill, an open invitation and people willing to share just a little bit of what they have with strangers. By the time food and drink are served and conversation shared you'll find out that your neighbors were never really strangers after all, they were just friends you hadn't bothered to make yet.