Neighbors gather for evening of fun

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 9, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; There weren’t many TVs on in the houses that surround Oseola Park Wednesday night.

And the only fights that occurred were over possession of the yellow kickball or the tug-o-war rope.

Around 40 residents, mainly children, of the roads just off Homochitto Street gathered in the park for a 4-H club-sponsored community night.

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Teenagers Kristi King and Natalie Williams, both 14, said normally they spend their nights walking around or watching TV.

&uot;It’s fun, it’s not boring,&uot; Williams said. &uot;Here we can talk and eat.&uot;

Volunteers with the Shining Stars 4-H club brought hot dogs, pizza and snacks to feed the children and adults who attended. Club sponsor Birdie Wade said the gathering is an annual event aimed at bringing the community together.

&uot;It’s just to keep the community connected,&uot; Wade said. &uot;You get to know your neighbors and then we all know who everyone is. We let the young people know that grown folks do think of kids.&uot;

The kids, ranging in age from toddler to 18, and adults all joined in for tug-o-war, boys versus girls.

&uot;I liked it because I saw a lot of children to play with,&uot; said Ketdricka Williams, 10. &uot;And we had a cookout and played games.&uot;

Mother and grandmother Iris Peaches said she’s often seen the older children using the park area for trouble, but said she saw none of that Wednesday.

&uot;They are all out here in the open,&uot; she said. &uot;So you can see what they are doing. It’s good to get together like this when there’s no special occasion. It gets their minds off doing mischievous things.&uot;

Peaches said she also liked having the parents come out and join in the fun and be involved in what the children were doing. While the girls and younger children played kickball, the older boys led a touch football game.

&uot;I’m the one that keeps everyone together,&uot; 13-year-old Theresa Brown said of her neighborhood friends. &uot;We coordinate dances and walk around.&uot;

Wade said the neighborhood will get together again for National Night Out in the summer.

Several Natchez Police officers stopped by the park Wednesday to visit.