My friend Holley participates in a tradition that I love. Seven families share a meal on Friday night. The host prepares everything- buys all the food and does all the cooking. This is not a potluck kinda deal, this is a balanced, well planned meal. But because there are seven participant houses, it feels totally okay to take sole responsibility for a dinner every six weeks. In fact, by the time it is your turn, you are excited to impresses and feed folks that have cared for you for the past month and a half. Kids of all ages run around, parents get tipsy, and everyone feels connected. My life is too busy for that exact scenario and it would be hard to get all of my loved ones to commit to a dinner every week. But we do have a tradition established by the Shaver House in which we gather for a community dinner once a month. And yes it is potluck style but again, you work with what you have. The Shaver House potluck is reliable and well presented. Azure, matriarch of the house, sends out an e-mail reminder a couple of days before the 1st Wednesday of the month. And every month I don't expect it and would have forgotten to attend. Every month I go and am warmed by the food, the drink and the conversation. But mostly by the routine. It feels like Sunday dinner at the parents and for most of us whose families are far away, traditions like this remind us of the importance of linking arms and staying close.

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