A BBQ Parade in the Ghetto

todd-hall.jpgI live in an apartment building with 8 units . It’s an old home (picture above), called “Todd Hall”, that looks a lot like the Adam’s family house. Basically it’s falling a part. I call it the “heritage ghetto” look. I absolutely love it.  Currently there are about 15 people living in my building and I know them all by first name. It is, I think, community at its best. The following is a recount of events that happened yesterday, May 10th. Hopefully you will also see why I love this place.

 5:30 p.m.–cleaning my house when I receive a phone call from E.J. (a friend who lives 1/2 a block away). He’s bored, would I like to do something? After a few minute of conversing we decide to have a BBQ. My upstairs neighbours, Matt and Jaclyn, have a barbeque on the side porch of our building that they have generously allowed all residents to use. I call a couple of people to see if they would also like to join our spontaneous BBQ.

6:00–Zach (my temporary, cool, vegetarian roommate) comes home (temporarily my roommate, not temporarily cool, just to be clear). He’s in. My next door neighbour, Jasmine, hears us talking and recognizes E.J.’s voice. She drops by and we invite her to our BBQ. 

6:30–Superstore run. Our simple BBQ has grown to 7 people. Some want steak, others chicken, some salmon, etc. It’s going to be a feast. I have a lot of potatoes so I start cutting.

7:00–BBQ underway. I almost catch the building on fire trying to light the darn thing (I TOLD everyone not to let me near it). Party has grown to 10 people.  Matt is on the grill and cooks the best steaks ever! Seriously, I would marry him on his steak grilling skills alone…that is if he wasn’t already married.

8:00–We feast! Everyone contributes something and we eat on a few small tables that belong to apt. #2 on the porch. A few others join us just to hang out.

8:15–E.J. proposes (two beer and this is what happens…). Apparently my potatoes are a hit, but unfortunately even I know that’s not what marriages are built upon. I say I will consider it on the condition that it’s an open relationship and I get a big ring–after all he is going to be a lawyer. 

8:30–Don arrives with his F150 and lo and behold there is a full piano strapped to the bed of the truck! They are moving it and need some extra help. A few of us, recognizing an opportunity when we see one, hop on back and begin to play. Don agrees to drive us around and suddenly the BBQ has turned into a parade! Most of the guys leave to help move the thing and the rest of us sit out on the porch laughing, talking, and eating. Steph grabs some tunes and we sing along to the ones we know.  Zoe breaks out a few of her classic dance moves, Ingo and Gisela tell us about some of the differences between Canadian and German customs, Jaclyn gets some blankets, and before long the guys are back (sadly without the piano).

10:00p.m.–I look around and think “this is what makes it all worth it.” What started as two people making supper plans has turned into a full blown community extravaganza! We laugh and talk as the sun goes down and slowly people drift back to their own homes. Without ever trying, we are community. We are all so different, but we all love food and that’s all the commonality we need. I retire to my apartment feeling happier than I have in a long time.

I can’t imagine a better night.

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8 Responses to “A BBQ Parade in the Ghetto”


  1. 1 Rachel May 11, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    This whole thing made me smile. a lot.

  2. 2 Matt Wiebe May 11, 2007 at 9:48 pm

    BBQ is beautiful. Good times 🙂

  3. 3 Brianmpei May 13, 2007 at 12:57 am

    This sounds like a perfect day! Congratulations on taking a party to parade level!

  4. 4 Tyler May 13, 2007 at 6:08 pm

    So jealous. I know that our marriage isn’t very formal but still. . . it seems like you are forgetting about me pretty quick. I should never have left.
    It sounds like you guys are having some good times, that’s awesome.
    Don’t forget to wipe.

  5. 5 shelleyperry May 13, 2007 at 11:51 pm

    Ty: just because the union isn’t formal doesn’t mean i don’t take it seriously…but you left me so if you want me to stay true you better hurry up and get back here.

  6. 6 steph May 24, 2007 at 3:30 am

    that was a perfect night. ridiculous… and perfect*

  7. 7 shannon-may June 3, 2007 at 12:15 am

    oh how I miss the ghetto. let me tell you, those fun times are not happening out here in bc. we are all too bust to even stop and think about sharing a meal with someone else. mind you, i don;t livein one fantastic building with super cool people, so that makes it difficult!!!

    the community experience that you describe is something to cherish. my last week there was probably one of the richest moments shared with community of my entire year. thank you todd hall…and don’t worry, i’ll be back in september!!!!

  8. 8 shelleyperry June 3, 2007 at 5:30 am

    Todd Hall misses you too Shannon!


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