Sunday, July 24

Sunday Social Report

A lovely morning: we doffed our work clothes and gussied up in our one Sunday Best outfit (our wardrobe is pretty limited, sincewe're still living out of suitcases). We strolled 100 feet down our back alley to the Unitarian Universalist church. Our arrival in town coincided pretty closely with the "grand opening" of this new congregation. They've just moved into a new building of their own (just to be clear, it's a reuse of a historic Methodist church) and hired a full-time minister for the first time. It seems to us a golden time to join the congregation - when it's growing.

Before we even stepped in the door, one of the only people in town that we know waved to us as she pulled her car into the parking lot. The greeter was one of the only other people we know. Interesting, because we had a similar experience when we attended a UU church in a City before. Today's attendance was small, but a nice balance between older churchy types and younger couples.

The new sanctuary is sparkling, intimate, and iconographically nondescript. It would be the perfect space for folk concerts, yoga classes, meetings, or moon circles. The new minister has the perfectly booming yet soothing voice - and doesn't use any microphone. D. liked the sermon on the definition and tradition of Humanism, while I found it a little long though enlightening to discover I am not a humanist. Neither of us like announcements coming before the service. One interesting element: the minister's wife reads a children's story at the beginning of the service, right before the children leave for Religious Education.

After coffee hour, our new acquaintances invited us to lunch at the coffeehouse. Thanks to the temperate weather, we were able to sit out in the garden, which was totally relaxing and flower-filled. It was the most interesting conversation, with not a single reference to pop culture or celebrity gossip. I know, can you believe it?! They were young, smart, worldly people - in summary, potential friends.

One of the couples even turned out to be about a year ahead of us on the house restoration superhighway, so I started networking right away. In addition to hustling for an invitation to their house, which is so distinctive that we knew which one it was as soon as they described it - "the yellow and red Victorian" - I suggested an ideas I've read at other houseblogs: a neighborhood work club. He countered with his idea for a community tool library. Then I said it could develop into a car share. After which point, he pretty much offered us that we could use their truck or their mitre saw or their paint sprayer system. This guy is a huge resource, I mean, he practically does his own wiring and plumbing.

So it was a pleasant and productive venture, with us continuing to work our way into the community's networks.

Speaking of the community, there's one thing I haven't really made clear. I've been talking about the locals as if they were a unitary bunch, which isn't really true. The burg isn't just any small town, it's a college town, and its residents fall into roughly three categories:

- Natives are people whose families have been here for hundreds of years, mostly farmers and tradespeople. These are the people who eyed me suspiciously at the Walmart.
- Locals are the more worldly and educated natives, like our fabulous real estate agent, who grew up here but her family isn't from here. She's very helpful to us to navigate the bridge between us and the natives.
- Transplants are the highly educated faculty and administrators of the two colleges, the nearby national park, and the hospital. That's us! We expect the majority of our friends to come from this like-minded group.

So, in the future, I'll try to be more clear about which group of locals I'm referring to.


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