We held our third annual picnic in the shelter in East Waluga Park on Sunday afternoon, August 5, 2012. About 80 people showed up with a dessert or a salad, and we provided the hamburgers and veggieburgers, courtesy of our local Albertson’s Supermarket. Our purpose in these celebrations is to begin building relationships, conversation by conversation, knitting together the fibers of a community. And we think we’ve gotten a good start.
We’ve had this picnic three years in a row now. The first year we made a tentative run with as much publicity as we could muster, and about 40 people showed up. Originally we had planned to make some announcements when most people were eating, but people were having so much fun that we couldn’t interrupt the conversations to make the announcements. Mostly we were meeting and talking with neighbors we had seen on the street or in the park but never spoken with or with people we had never met but, as it turns out, should have because they had so much in common with us.
The second year, the manager of our local Albertson’s turned up and offered to supply the meat and some of the condiments. Barry Uchida took over as chef. We asked everyone to bring a salad or a dessert, and the results were sensational. Sixty people came that afternoon, and we had the same good time. Hot as the weather was, the shelter in the park was cool, and as the afternoon turned into evening, we enjoyed just eating and meeting people we should know anyway.
Now, this third year, we are beginning to recognize here and there people we talked to last year. Maybe we have seen them since then, or maybe we only see them at the picnic. But we are beginning to have a sense of familiarity with one another, faces we have seen before and look forward to seeing again.