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Choosing Community One More Time

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I must admit. I feel at times that extreme weather events bring out the best and worst in us. Most of the time it is the best, but when it’s the worst, it’s epic.

I have blogged before about the “civility” thing, here where we live. For me, being civil to one another doesn’t foster a sense of community, caring, compassion and commiseration. We have much better choices for those C words than civility.

My post about cabin fever prompted feedback, positive and negative. For me, I was happy to report that once again, after losing it in my old Columbia neighborhood, I found that sense of friendship, caring, support and teamwork here where we call home. It wasn’t meant to be a slap against my old place. I just missed that sense of pitching in and getting out of bad situations.

In 1983, 23 relatively young (well, 30ish to 60ish) new neighbors dug ourselves out after a blizzard. Not waiting for the county. Not waiting for the private contractor for our private cul de sac. With beer and chili when we finished, and all sorts of help from the big diggers to the more frail helpers, who did their part in clearing off the cars, we got it done.

It was the beginning of a very fun series of neighborhood events. For years we got together on a Saturday night every other month, except for the massive New Year’s Eve event. Crab feasts. Picnics. Progressive dinners. Themed dinners. Rotating the hosting duties.

Then, somehow, in some way, it ended. The majority of the core moved away. New neighbors declined to attend. We lost that sense of community, and regressed into the dreaded bedroom community.

When we left in 2005 we barely knew our neighbors. Not that we didn’t try. They just didn’t respond to invites.

That is why I love it out here. That community spirit is alive and kicking.

I was happy to see so many great stories about neighborhoods digging out in other parts of our state, and in other neighborhoods in Columbia.

As for whether I believe the county did OK in snow removal, it’s not a priority for me to judge. We are lucky. It has nothing to do with politics or favoritism. It has more to do with the people who live here.

We live in an area full of hard working people who may have moved here because it was more affordable to live here, decades ago. People who ran businesses from their homes. People who drove school buses. Or who had small service companies. They have trucks. They have all those things necessary to survive out where power outages can be long. Out where land is plentiful but you have to take care of it yourself.

Yeah, we have trucks with plows. We have tractors. We have snow throwers. We have generators. We have ATVs. Many of our neighbors provide services to other communities in Howard County. With their equipment, they also take care of the elderly, or the families with many little ones, or the newbies who haven’t quite adjusted to living here.

For me, it’s a great place to live. Reminds me of what I found in Columbia in 1975, but that we lost somewhere along the way. I am glad to see so many tell me it is alive and kicking in many places. That spirit needs to spread.

clean up 013

Besides, I am really, really happy. My mailbox survived.

About AnnieRie

Retired, I am following my dream of living in quiet west Howard County, a rural oasis, not far from the urban chaos, but just far enough. I love to cook, bake, garden, and travel. I volunteer at Howard County Conservancy. I lead nature hikes, manage programs and show children all the wonders of nature, and the agricultural connection to their food.

2 responses »

  1. Yes, the Columbia Community Spirit of family, support and caring is alive and flourishing on Fallen Stone in Oakland Mills. I have lived here since 1973 and have seen neighbors come and go, but every single change has strengthened our sense of Community. We keep in touch and many often come back for our neighborhood events. The families include newly weds, ones with young children, and several medicare retirees. I guess you could say we represent a family of three generations.

    Reply
    • Sounds absolutely wonderful. We kept our spirit alive until we started getting rentals. At one point, I think we had 4 rentals in the 12 houses. That’s when things just started falling apart. There were issues about parking (what else is new?). Loud parties in one of the homes. It most definitely changed the neighborhood. A few of us still got together for drinks and grilling, but that closeness with everyone melted away.

      We still keep in touch with a couple of the neighbors. We go out to dinner, or over to visit. But, it’s not the same place.

      Reply

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