11 December 2008

Prelude to a Progressive Dinner

Growing up in the suburbs of Atlanta, my friends and I would always traipse across the neighborhoods as if they were all our own yards.  Most of the modest houses in our 'hood had kids, so no one minded other kids "cutting through" the to get where they needed to go.  Most back yards didn't have fences and privacy didn't seem too important.  Our parents parked in front garages or carports, and everyone said "hey" (it's the South, after all) when coming or going.
After graduating from Georgia Tech and doing a brief stint in Detroit, I settled in Dallas, specifically "far north Dallas".  While I had the Dallas address (barely), I worked (still do, knock on wood) for a high-tech company in one of Dallas' technoburbs.  Everything was brand new, shiny, and SECRET.  Homes in new "neighborhoods" were built with rear garages accessed through a service alley.  Everyone had a 6- or 7-foot privacy fence surrounding a modest back yard.  The front yards were each newly planted with two 5- or 6-foot [tr]ash trees.  The only reason to go out the front door was to get the newspaper and mail.  (Why didn't they put those in the back, too?)  You were more likely to know your neighbors behind you than those across the street.  This isolation is not necessarily a bad thing; it's just a bit confining for someone who grew up in the east having free reign of the 'hood.
A year after arriving in Dallas, I met my significant other.  He had (and now we have) a home in an old east Dallas neighborhood with small houses that were built in the 1920's and 30's, an eclectic mix of Tudor, craftsman, and cottage styles.  Like our suburban neighbors to the north, we all have our private back-yard retreats.  But unlike them, we have front driveways, so we get to see everyone coming and going, and we get to say "hey" to each other all the time.  Everyone likes something a little different, but for me, I'll take "Hey!" over "Who?" every time.
To strengthen our close neighborhood ties, one of our neighbors suggested a progressive dinner party on our block.  Alas, food enters the picture.  [Stay tuned ...]

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