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North Carolina is in the middle of an ice storm.  At least that’s what I’m calling it. There is nothing but ice on the grass, stairs, driveway and everything else in sight. It’s pretty, but it  makes you want to stay home.  Until the neighbor texts you with “the wine is flowing.  Come up!”  And just like that I am out the door.  There’s something about a weather event.  It’s the one thing we experience together.  I’ve always paid attention to the mood right before inclement weather arrives.  There’s talk among us, almost giddy talk.

I walk to her house, just two homes up the hill.  Her husband warmly greets me and points out that all the women had the sense to take their shoes off INSIDE the door while the boys and men took their shoes off on the porch. Was there a choice?

From there, I move into the kitchen to see my neighbors from down the street (4 houses away) with glasses of wine, sweatpants and smiles.  Instantly I know I’m in for a good night.

The husband suddenly perceives that his place on the couch next to his wife is now very much outdated.  He moves across the room so the women can tell their stories and drink their wine. And that’s what we do for the next hour until the pizza comes.  We talk and laugh and share those stories.

It starts with my 9 month old poodle, Ellie.  A broken leg.  I’ve spent all week trying to keep her from gnawing at her bandages and away from her very hyper boyfriend, Max, our toy fox terrier.

My friend then shares the sad news that her guinea pig, Snickers, died this week after a prolonged illness.  There’s the half mast flag, missed school and funeral that includes a color guard.  Her husband shouts across the room that the children missed more school for the guinea pig than for their grandmother’s funeral. Naturally, there’s yet another pet story.  Families have plenty of them.  Her cat of 13 years (maybe more) died at Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving??? How did we not know this?  She gets off the hook though. She had her fourth son in December.

It’s times like these that make me appreciate community.  We all need it. Especially during inclement weather.

Here’s to neighbors. Stay safe.  Call on one another.  It’s a good thing.

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