Down the big hill and towards the school, some new neighbors moved in last Spring. I met them once, and since then, our paths have not crossed. Nobody on my street really knows them.
Our community holds Trick-or-Treating on Thursday night, and as we approach this new family's house last night, we are already freezing in the darkness as wind whips underneath our costumes. Then, I see a sign in the yard. It says: "Wecome! Come in for Hot Chocolate, Cider, Coffee, Tea, and Donuts." Like a beacon of warmth and cheer, that house glows from the sidewalk.
We can't resist. We swarm the place. We stay awhile.
The family nobody knows cleaned out their garage and turned it into a little barn with tables and chairs for neighbors to rest during Trick-or Treating. The couple dressed up as farmers, and as they pour cider and pass out donuts to us--strangers--they laugh and smile and introduce themselves.
The family none of us knows is now the family that everybody knows.
This family models how to enter a community with flair. The next time I feel lonely, left out, or unknown because I'm the new kid on the block, I'm not going to wait around for the Welcome Wagon. I'm going to make a sign, clear a space, and offer the kind of hospitality that folks can't resist. The kind of hospitality that makes people stay awhile.
I love my neighborhood.