1000 days, many new friends

21 Dec

For the last few years, Covid has done a really good job of keeping families and friends apart. But here’s a nice story about how the pandemic actually brought a group of neighbors TOGETHER, and helped forge new friendships.

The story begins more than two and a half years ago, in March 2020, at the height of the pandemic. The country had just entered shut-down mode. The kids weren’t going to school, many of us couldn’t go to work, we couldn’t eat out with friends or even go grocery shopping without fear of getting sick.

Basically, we were all forced into our own personal, anti-social bubbles, and it was awful.

Jack Turan decided to do something about it. He heard on the news one morning how, in small towns all across Italy, residents were opening their shutters, sitting in their windows with their glasses of wine, and singing. The story gave him an idea. When he got home after work, he saw his neighbor Jamie, and told him to grab a beverage and meet him at the end of his driveway later that night. Then he went over to tell another neighbor, and a third.

That was the evening of March 22, 2020, and the beginning of a nightly tradition in one north Webster neighborhood that has continued every day since.

Last Saturday, Dec. 17, the gathering, fondly known as “Yack With Jack,” marked a very special achievement: 1000 straight days on which at least two neighbors have met at the end of Jack Turan’s driveway every night at 5 p.m. to share a beverage, and just hang around and chat.

Donna Fonda, who first told me about this happy group, said that the daily meetings have been a way to “check in” with the neighbors and get some actual real-person-not-Zoom time with other human beings, something we all craved especially during the height of the pandemic.

“During this 1000 days we’ve really gotten to know each other,” Donna wrote, “and enjoyed each family’s joys like births, engagements, anniversaries and retirements.” The friends have also been able to “hold each other up through health issues, deaths of loved ones and of course the isolation that Covid brought,” she added.

The meetings might be as short as 25 or 30 minutes, or as long as an hour and a half, depending on what’s going in peoples’ lives that night. There might be two people, there might be four, there might be 14. Most of the participants are Turan’s immediate neighbors, but a few come from farther down the street, and even a street over.

The neighbors marked both the first and second anniversaries with parties. The 1000-day celebration, however, was something else. More than 20 people were there, including their young children and dogs. There were snacks and crock pots filled with soup. There was a fire pit. There was a trivia contest complete with musical clues. And Deb Ford even made up some custom-designed drink cups, reading “Yack Anniversary, 1000 Days — 12/17/22.”

For this group of Webster neighbors, the “Yack With Jack” gatherings have taken the idea of “neighborhood” to an entirely new level.

Sure, we all wave to the neighbors before and after work, or when we’re out mowing the lawn. More often than not, though, we don’t have the time to do much more. Drive down this street any night of the week, however, and you’ll see a bunch of folks standing at the end of a driveway, beverages in hand, who’ve discovered the awesome result of making that time.

According to Jack Turan, that is: “We got to know each other, and we got to be friends, actually friends.” 

* * *

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(posted 12/21/2022)

7 Responses to “1000 days, many new friends”

  1. Pat Sweetland December 21, 2022 at 8:22 pm #

    This is so cool! Congrats. to Jack for making it happen!

  2. Linda J Meyers December 21, 2022 at 9:00 pm #

    I love this!!!

  3. Sherry Gentle December 22, 2022 at 11:57 am #

    Missy…Do you think if you contacted our Channel 13 they would do a “human interest” clip and they contact David Muir to find out if he would like to air this?

    • websterontheweb December 22, 2022 at 12:00 pm #

      who’s David Muir, a reporter?

      • Sherry Gentle December 23, 2022 at 9:39 am #

        David Muir is a reporter (internationally known) and has a half hour program 630PM-7PM aired on Channel 13 M-F. He is well known and a friend of Don Alhart’s.

      • websterontheweb December 23, 2022 at 3:53 pm #

        I sent emails to both Channel 8 and 13

    • websterontheweb December 22, 2022 at 12:21 pm #

      Oh, he’s like a national-level feature reporter. I canm send it along to a few local names I know, and they might pick it up. Thanks for the idea.

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