Sunday, September 4, 2011

First Fridays in Bethlehem

First Fridays of the month in South Bethlehem are a real joy for me. If I can wander through the central business district of South Bethlehem, I'm always going to see something great. Most assuredly, I'll have an interesting conversation. After work, many of the friends I've met either through work or social media are there. I love being ale to bump into people I know for a friendly chat - or an exchange of "business."

Usually, one person (or more) will see me and give me a great idea to pursue, or an issue that needs addressing. Sometimes the issue is related to something I do for work, most times it's something I do in my civic engagement. There's a fine line between both. I know that being involved in the community reflects well on what I do at the University - but only in that it's something that I need to do for me. Being involved in the community is more about relationships with people. Not a checklist of places I want to be seen by my boss.

This past Friday, I got us a mule. I'll probably write more about that as the project heats up, but on Friday - I struck a deal with the current possessor. I also hatted with a dear friend who shared his concerns about appropriate attribution of and event - in this small community, it's important to recognize the many volunteers who give thousands of hours of their time and expertise to making nice things available. If they're not getting paid - then need to be thanked. So we shared the concern; I'm hoping I can help support the recognition in some way.

I ended the evening with my friends Donald, his partner Earl at Molly's. After a nice start to the evening by hosting a tweetup on campus, I wanted to enjoy one nice whiskey. We were joined by a couple friend of theirs and we decided to grab a bite. We were the lingering older folk of the night.

There's a couple of shifts of First Fridays: 5-7 are the students who want to get to the stores to do some random shopping. 6-9 are the "older" citizens who come to support the stores, see the artists in the galleries (each First Friday has a bunch of new openings) or to listen to the live music scattered about the scene. After 9pm, the shops and galleries start to close, and folks head toward the restaurants.

We know that the rest of the night belongs to the younger generation; you know, LEGAL students and young professionals. We don't want to get in the way of the dating scene; mostly because we (I) remember with horror the kind of crap and drama that usually brings. We lived it already, and we don't need to live through it again, thanks. Some of us also need to get home to stop the babysitter time clock from getting unaffordable. Or perhaps to try to have a conversation with a spouse before he nods off to late night television.... (I was too late for this again)

After living in Bethlehem for six years, I can say that I have a great circle of friends and it keeps getting wider.

Could I do my "job" if I wasn't serving on various cultural arts group boards, volunteering for festivals or supporting the independent business as much as I can afford? Yes. Could I be as effective as my job if I didn't engage as much as I do in the community? Probably not. Can I tell the difference between what I do for work and what I do to feel like I'm a part of the community? Do I need to? Hell, no!

*****
#78 of 90in90 for #LUBlogTribe

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