A few weeks ago I marked my 19th anniversary of living on Pillsbury Avenue. It’s easy for me to remember because, for some insane reason, our young family moved into our first home the same week we had our first baby. So along with my son’s birthday, I always get a little reminiscent about our history of living in the neighborhood and raising a family here.
This year, my Lyndale neighborhood anniversary coincided with the weekend of the Walldogs mural project. I had attended a couple of the fundraisers during the spring and knew that this volunteer project had attracted some of the best, brightest, and most fun folks from both the Lyndale and Kingfield neighborhoods (as well as talented mural artists from across the country).
Besides going to the fundraisers, I wasn’t really involved in the project, but on Saturday night, July 26, I walked over to Zion Lutheran for the giant Walldogs celebration party in the parking lot. It was the quintessential expression of what is so great about living in South Minneapolis.
The murals themselves are amazing art and besides beautifully decorating our urban landscape, they are proven deterrents to graffiti, an irritant that especially bugs me.
And I believe there is something unique about South Minneapolis residents. I think we are a special breed of people who choose to live “in the city” or “in the ’hood” so that we can experience a diversity in living that frankly doesn’t exist many other places. I like, for the most part, what makes up that diversity; but even more, I like that I live among others who like it, and choose it, too.
Equally important are projects and parties like the Walldogs Mural Project. All over Southwest, and the rest of the city, too, hundreds of events like these take place and people connect with one another in a good and happy way. And that counts; it counts in that subtle “quality of life” way.
Over these past 19 years, my level of engagement in neighborhood activities has ebbed and flowed. I think that’s true for many people. You go to your Neighborhood Night Out picnic, maybe serve on a committee, volunteer for some event, send your kids to the carnival/festival. And some years, you skip it all and when you drive by the festival-picnic-meeting place you smile, knowing that there are people just like you, your neighbors, being an active part of it all.
This year, I just gave some money and spent a great Saturday night among talented, fun people eating and dancing under the summer sky celebrating our little corner of the world. It’s not a big deal, but it’s one of those simple things that makes me happy to be here. And happy that you live here, too.