“You should host a neighborhood soup night,” suggested my friend Sarah. “It could be fun. You could have people bring their own bowls, you know, for easy cleanup. Keep it really casual, and make it all about comfort.”
This afternoon, two lovingly prepared pots of soup bubble gently in anticipation on the stove; their cacophony of welcome mingles with the aroma of still-warm, homemade rolls just delivered by a neighbor. Having taken Sarah’s suggestion, I am ready for my first foray into radical hospitality, sparked by a desire to connect and engage with my neighborhood. My 1930s bungalow is aglow—all warmth and comfort. Sitting on established, tree-lined Pierce Street, it is part of an original neighborhood in Twin Falls, a small community in south-central Idaho. But I’ve watched my older neighborhood move toward a state of flux. A few neglected rentals now share fences with homes owned for generations, and a sense of urgency seems to have permeated the street, with neighbors often seen in various states of hurriedness, passing in a haze of frenzied intention. Handwaves, once common, occur less frequently on this narrow, intimate street. And now it’s winter and cold. The neighborhood has retreated, as have I.