Thursday, February 29, 2024 Feb 29, 2024
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Christine Allison On “Getting Together”

The prognosticators say that, after a decade of nesting, people are fleeing their homes to make contact with the outside world. Here in Dallas, we invite the outside world into our homes.
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Dear Reader
Let’s Get Together

I recently read an article titled The End of Nesting in The Wall Street Journal. Our years of nesting have resulted in social isolation, the Journal says, citing statistics that show Americans, having spent the past decade obsessed with their houses, now are desperately seeking contact with the outside world, dining in restaurants more often, and also (I found these curious proofs) bird watching and gardening more, spending $444 million on herb gardening alone.

This proposition struck me as odd. Not the $444 million on herb gardening part “though at $3.95 for a packet of seeds, the United States is in danger of becoming one big field of parsley. No, what doesn’t square with my experience in Dallas is the desperately seeking contact part of the equation.

As a modern suburban city, Dallas nests have never been nests at all, but sealed off, air-conditioned boxes, separated from street life by large front yards, living on what our contributing editor Ken Knight always refers to (with a sigh) as the grid. Our lives would have little lyricism were it not for our sublime (and very Southern) compulsion to get together. In Dallas, getting together is our social art form. This is why we have antique clubs, book clubs, bridge clubs, travel clubs, garden clubs, booster clubs, supper clubs “the list goes on and on. Social connectedness and hospitality have always been valued in Dallas, and what differs in our community is that we get together, whenever possible, in our houses.

Dallas finest gather for food, conversation, and a good cause at the East Dallas Community School fete.

I was deeply touched by a recent fundraising event for the East Dallas Community School, when on a beautiful summer night, 17 prominent local families and individuals opened their houses to guests known and unknown, hosting intimate dinner parties to raise awareness and funds. What a relief from hotel ballrooms and store openings! The event was Dallas leadership class at its best: hospitable, generous, and gracious, socially connected not only to each other, but also to people and institutions in need. We dispatched Nan Coulter to record the evening on film; you’ll see how the hosts and hostesses prepared a splendid night for their guests, with beautiful food and wine and warm conversation.

Opening their homes to random guests, feting them, all in an effort to raise funds to educate children they will never know, makes the friends of the East Dallas Community School the antithesis of socially isolated. In our city, we don’t go to the outside world to make contact, we invite the outside world in. Thus, prognostications about the end of nesting will never apply. We like our restaurants, love our birds, and enjoy our herbs, but in Dallas it’s still all about our homes, and always will be.

Enjoy this issue, and let me hear from you.


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