Monday, July 4, 2005

Ice Cream Social

July 3, 2005

Dear neighbors,

I just returned from three weeks in Turkey where I reveled in the generous, heart-felt warmth of the people in the villages of Anatolia. Imagine if you will, a jet-lagged American woman sitting with an old, white-haired Arabic-speaking Muslim man in the shadowy bowels of a tiny, dusty antique shop. He had been stationed on a little stool just outside. After seeing me pass and greet him three times he kindly beckoned me in. For what seemed like a long time we plumbed the soul in each other’s eyes and drank tea (“chai”) from tiny glasses. Then, gesturing to a obscure shelf under a table loaded with old radio parts he produced for my astonished admiration ancient, leather-bound, intricately decorated copies of the Koran while, in a parallel track, I dreamed of us back here in the U.S. letting go of ambitious busyness to remember our ancient human relish in the time-honored custom of just sitting around in each other’s company.

Little did I in faraway Turkey know that on or around that same day a group of GANA residents in Indiana would suddenly band together and, with only a few weeks’ lead time, summon up a taste of village life!

On July 3, from 2 to 4 pm, at the corner of 4th and Hillsdale, a poster sporting a big ice cream cone drawing announced a “Two Scoop Neighborhood Salute” that beckoned us to shaded tables graced with little fluttering flags next to a vinyl tent-covered table groaning with 12 cartons of ice cream. Neighbors, children, and friends of neighbors clustered together, talking and slurping French Vanilla and Chocolate Mint and 10 other sweet and sweeter flavors in lazy enjoyment of a warm and humid summer Sunday.

Of the 100 ice cream cups donated for the event, only 46 remained, so we figure the hastily arranged party drew over 50 people! As an added bonus, some we haven’t seen before signed up for this email list. Nor did most of us “eat and run,” but lingered, telling each other our stories, getting to know each other better, catching up on neighborhood news.

Now that so many of us recognize each other from previous GANA events over the past year and a half, our shyness has receded. Rather than starting out from scratch, we can now greet each other as friends and continue where we left off. Indeed, after this event especially I would say that it does appear we are morphing into the neighborhood we imagined — a palpable, throbbingly alive village within the greater Bloomington municipality.

Here’s a short run-down on how the party came about.

Sometime in March Jelene Campbell alerted us that she had sent in a nomination to a contest sponsored by Edy’s Ice Cream for a free “Two Scoop Neighborhood Salute” Ice Cream Party. At least two others, Diane Dormant and Georgia Schaich, also submitted nominations. On June 16 Diane found out that her nomination had won! Edy's told her that the party packet was worth $359 (12 cartons of ice cream, napkins, bowls, spoons, 12 ice cream dippers, a disposable camera, table cloth, coupons, and free shipping) and that they wanted the winning neighborhood to hold its party over the July 4th holiday weekend.

Diane called Georgia, who agreed to quickly shepherd the idea into reality. Georgia put out a call for help, and about a dozen neighbors pitched in to make it happen, lickety-split: first email June 16, organizational meeting June 22, 350 flyers printed by the city June 24 and delivered door to door the weekend prior to the event.

Big thanks go to Georgia and Bill Schaich, Patricia Thompson, and Kathy Ruesink for supplying the tables and chairs that made it easy to sit and chat in the shade, Julia Jackson for the fun, eye-catching poster and flyers, Noriko Hara, Phil Eskew, Mariam Shaaban, Lois Sabo-Skelton, and Stanley Routon for walking those flyers to all our homes, Peggy Stuckey, Julia and Noriko for scooping ice cream, Kathy Ruesink for the beautiful bouquet of flowers from her garden — plus uncounted others who helped to clean up afterwards.

May we continue to come alive!

Ann Kreilkamp
Scribe (secretary)

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