Block party unites residents of B Street

For 18 years, residents of B Street have come together on the last day of August at the corner of B and Eighth, there to shut down the street and eat heartily, while sipping on their favorite brew with an acoustic background of a bluegrass/Celtic musicians, seated on bails of hay.

While two sponsors supply brisket and brew, everyone brings a salad, desert or other delights as the mixed-aged attendees converse, laugh and throw off their normal guises in favor of a more tangible touch. Children, teens, young adults, Baby Boomers, the retired and all manner of the elderly join together in a common theme of open-mindedness, civility and a caring for the good for all. Of course, the tender brisket and tremendous sides are not to be discounted as the mortar that binds hundreds of residents together in a common bond.

Everything is discussed, within reason: politics, the latest events, art, music, theater, pets, gardening, home improvements, as well as the most succulent side dishes and intriguing deserts. There are enough topics to swamp a duck in the upper duck pond.

Dogs run wild, but every one of them knows the rules. Men, women and children understand that it is now cool to pile their plates waist high with brisket while those behind sigh longingly as the morsels leave the table. The unspoken rule is to take slightly less than you normally would, allowing those in line a chance at the goodies. It works!

Every 20 minutes more brisket appears, along with some hidden sides that seem to conspire to make a plate a treasure. Then it is off to a sit in the shade while inching toward post-prandial torpor, which, if left to itself, results in legendary languor and indolence.

Yet this night the adrenalin was flowing all around and keen minds and wits were at the forefront. Mental sparks flew while old friends were reunited and new friends found. It was all I could do not to chug the brisket dipping sauce. Well into the night new bonds were formed and old ones amplified.

In these times of contention, screaming tea parties and loaded weapons at town hall meetings, it is reassuring to look about and find friends regardless of their political views, age, background or history. As many now say: "It's all good."

I wish our politicians would hold a block party and sit back and listen to the neighbors that make up their supporters. Somehow I feel that meetings would be more open and the voters more understanding of the true complexity of the issues that demand resolution, in these, the days of brisket.

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