On Thursday night, my friend Carla texted a few friends that she hadn't seen in over a year. "Dinner tomorrow night in my back yard?'" Within minutes she got a resounding YES from the group, myself included.
Pre-pandemic (when the above photo was taken), our group had to make plans at least two weeks out. As pretentious as it sounds, I couldn't lock in anything before consulting my social calendar. And now, though we are all fully vaccinated, we've become so accustomed to staying in, that a day's notice was all we needed!
Though we'd been friends for 25 years, a little part of me wondered if it woud be awkward when our group got together. Do we hug? Where do we start? Has anyone else been asking themseves these questions?
Turns out, our group fell back in just like old times. It helped that they served Basil Hayden whiskey in elegant glasses, started a cozy fire and let us tour their new RV, where small groups ducked in for intimate conversation and to escape high winds that blasted pollen into our eyes.
Then there was the series of gourmet pizzas that Carla whipped up on the outdoor griddle. There was a feta and pepperoni pizza, sausage and veggie, and my very favorite: burrata, pesto and chicken sausage. She's an atist.
It's very clear that outdoor living is where it's at. For even if we are vaccinated, we're still warming up to the idea of closeness with others outside of our quaranteam. There are still variants of COVID that could affect us. But most of all, we feel the need to soak up every minute of this glorious, fleeting spring.
So I say invest in outdoor living. Build a fire pit, string some lights between the trees and dust off those chairs. Stock up on melamine plates that won't break and cloth napkins that won't blow away. Fire up the grill and serve veggie kabobs, hot dogs or ribeyes. Literally anything, because it doesn't matter. What matters most, is being together.