Building a community

Published 10:37 pm Wednesday, December 1, 2010

In a city the size of Suffolk, it’s easy — even within neighborhoods — for folks to feel detached from one another, especially in today’s society. With schedules that seem to fill before we know it and more potential distractions than ever to keep us from getting to know one another, it’s really no wonder that so few people anymore can recall the days when folks sat on their front porches and greeted one another on evening walks around the neighborhood.

We’re not sure whether Suffolk ever had the equivalent of the traditional Amish barn-raising, but there was a time in the past when people who lived near one another knew and cared for one another, helped each other out when they could. Much has been lost to the “progress” we’ve seen since those days — feelings of community and common-wealth, a sense of empathy for and camaraderie with our fellow human beings — and we’re not sure that the tradeoff has always been in our favor.

That’s why we’re such big fans of the Driver community here at the Suffolk News-Herald.

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Driver is a community that still strives to be a community. Even in the face of the strong temptation that its members must have to just go about their lives and worry about their own problems, Driver looks for opportunities to get together as a community and celebrate.

And what is there to celebrate? Why, the simple fact that they live in or work in Driver, of course.

There’s Driver Days, and there’s the End of Summer Beach Bash. This year, there was a Driver Street Bash every Friday of the summer. In Driver, there’s always a reason to get together with the neighbors and celebrate.

Christmas, of course, is no exception to that rule. There has been a long tradition of community members judging the Christmas lights that are put up around the village. This year, the whole enterprise has been put on steroids. Where a couple of residents used to drive around in a car and come up with an unofficial winner, this year, residents will be able to board the “Magic Bus” on one of three different dates, ride around the community and judge the lights themselves with their own sighs of appreciation.

The folks in Driver have just as many commitments and distractions as the rest of us, but they find time to drop those diversions and bond with their neighbors. That makes for a strong community. It’s no wonder tiny Driver is one of the best-known places in Surprising Suffolk.