I suspect we all have great memories of holiday cookouts with our families. My parents in particular had long standing holiday cookouts on Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day with a group of college friends that lasted for over 50 years. My parent’s friends had kids my age and we didn’t get to see them very often, so there was always great anticipation in reconnecting with something familiar yet new and fresh. Even then it was a special time but now more than ever I appreciate the traditions and sense of community my parents and their college friends sustained for so long. My Mom and I to this day reminisce about all the special memories that came from that period of our lives.
I have often longed for the types of traditions my parents had with their group of friends but the nomadic ways of my generation have created new beginnings more than consistent friendships and common places. Traditions however, are not necessarily that difficult to start. All it takes are a few willing friends, a good reason to gather and a great place to meet.
The informal cookout we had this last Saturday over the Memorial Day weekend may have been the start of something that could eventually become a tradition at Blue Ridge Mountain Club. While it started informally as a small group of friends considering a way to take advantage of the good weather and BRMC facilities, it evolved into a warm gathering of members, friends and new acquaintances. Over thirty people joined the party and the sense of community was punctuated by member prepared pot-luck dishes, screaming children, frolicking dogs and robust conversations.
As we reach a critical mass of participating members at BRMC, the opportunity to gather as a community will be greater with each new year. The traditions we create as a community may continue to be informal or they may be programmed but whatever the case, it is clear that there is something very special and authentic about gathering as a community. I myself, look forward to many more opportunities.