Saturday, July 7, 2007

Fourth in the 'Hood

Well, this is the perfect opportunity to brag on my neighborhood. The drizzle on the fourth let up a little, but not enough to spur my lazy bones down to the Waterfront. So Roommate and I got a couple of six-packs of Abita and $18 worth of side-of-the-road fireworks and decided to make a night of it.

We'd spent the previous couple of days trying to remember what we'd done last 4th of July; we knew we'd already moved and that we didn't go to the Waterfront, but couldn't remember where we'd been. At dusk on the 4th, it struck us... we'd stayed home and watched the neighbors go nuts with fireworks down the road.

This fourth, we invited our neighbor over to watch from our front lawn, and for two hours (at least!) we drank beer, listened to the blues channel on Sirius, and watched the same neighbors get somewhat lethal with fireworks, adding our own little display during the lulls. It was just a ridiculously pleasant evening, overall. A little spitting of rain, good neighbors, free and fun fireworks, great tunes, an endless supply of beer. And while the show downtown would have been better, our 4th seemed more in keeping with stereotypical Americana. In fact, it all felt very small town.

And that's been one of the best things about moving to Louisville-- the small town vibe. It was instant, palpable, the moment we stepped out of the moving van. The day we moved in was one of the hottest day last summer-- well over 90. Neighbor #1 (who came over for the 4th) was outside listening to NPR and doing her gardening. Several hours later, she showed up on our front porch with a case of beer, a case of Mountain Dew, a cooler with ice, and a half a pizza. Neighbor #2, across the street, chipped in by helping us lug some of the bigger pieces of furniture. Neighbor #3 came over with a handful of take-out menus and brochures about the city. Neighbor #4 gave us a houseplant and block gossip. Within 24 hrs, we knew every neighbor within eyeshot of our house.

And it's been that way ever since. Borrowing garden tools. Trading plants from a neighbor's garden for vegetables from mine. Advice about carpenters and electricians. We know everyone's kids and everyone's pets (more pets than kids in this neighborhood).

I lived in four different places in New Orleans, all within a mile of each other. I never knew more than one neighbor at any given apartment, and most of those neighbors that I knew were also my landlords. Here, it's not exactly the 1950's ideal of block parties and bbqs, but it's that nice level measure of closeness without oppressiveness. I never feel like my neighbors are spying over fences, but I always feel like they have my back.

And it was a pleasure spending the 4th with them, some from a distance, and some right in my front yard.

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