“Guess what came in the mail today?” My husband asked as I picked up the phone. “Let me guess, a check for a million dollars?!” This was my witty response. “No, a notice from the HOA that your turquoise table has to be removed from our front yard by the end of the weekend.”
I was not surprised.
A couple of months ago I wrote here about a book I’d read called The Turquoise Table by Austin author Kristin Schell. Her personal story about bringing neighborhood community together in simple ways inspired me so much we added a turquoise picnic table to our front yard. The HOA notice that our table was more front yard seating then we were allowed was half expected.
I called Kathy Ueoke, a neighbor and the other woman in my development who has a turquoise table. Together we decided it was important to talk with our neighbors about the notice we’d both received since each of us had hosted events that were successful and we didn’t want to just give up on the idea of community gathering. Kathy and I had quickly bonded over the interview I’d done with her for my previous article which, coincidentally, ended up being shared with the author of the book and as a result both Kathy and I were thrilled when Kristin Schell reached out to us and wanted to meet with us at my turquoise table! So, a book I LOVE resulted in my placing a table in my front yard, and then a meeting with the author who sat at my table as the first guest!
How cool is that?!
Now Kathy and I had been told we had to move the tables to our backyards. After stating our initial case to the HOA, we were told they would not be changing their minds on the consequences if we didn’t move our tables. However, they said were allowed to bring the tables back out if we had an event planned.
Kathy and I each decided to host events on our streets before the 10 day notice was due. I went door to door with a flyer to meet at the table for snacks and fellowship. Even though it was on very short notice, we had about 35 people in our front yard for a lovely evening! The teens played ball with the younger kids; and some of the kids were biking as the adults hung around chatting with one another about how we should create a resource list of kids who would like to take care of neighbors pets or do some babysitting.
Super old-school, right?!
Nobody had their phone out, we all exchanged thoughts about different aspects of life in our community and how the table was a great way for us to gather. Kathy’s street had a similar experience.
She and I are scheduled to speak at the next HOA meeting where we plan to bring a plethora of reasons why our neighborhood should allow for seating more than two people in the front yard at a time. In a world where there is so much disconnection, this is one small way we can create a shift to connection!
We will state our case peacefully because we know we won’t accomplish anything by getting angry or making empty threats. Our goal is to bring people together, not create further strife. Keep your fingers crossed that we can move forward and once again return our turquoise tables to the front yard!