The Loving Hands community is too small to classify as either a city or a town and is named after the church to which nearly everyone in the community belongs. Most of these hard working people are related to one another which is why the same crowd shows up for local funerals, weddings, and yard sales.
Another local phenomenon is a for-women-only gathering called a Tea which, oddly enough is an event where tea is never served. Affectionately referred to by the men in the community as “hen parties,” these soirées are most often held on Sunday afternoons and give local women an opportunity to gather together for sharing gifts, fellowship, and gossip before the birth of a child or a wedding.
All Loving Hands families live on streets that bear the names of their revered ancestors. The main thoroughfare through the community, Hollister Road, was named after my Great-Great-Great Grandfather, Rev. R. E. Hollister and the adjoining streets are named after other founding citizens like Himelright Street, Williams Lane, Darrow Drive, Morris Street, Clark Street, Harris Loop, and Herzinger Way.
The related inhabitants on each of these streets live in houses within walking distance of one another. Most often they work together to build their own homes resulting in a hodgepodge of uncoordinated architectural styles and follow-up room additions. Homes, both inside and out, are meticulously and obsessively cared for. Nothing is ever misplaced or out of place. A cluttered and dirty house is totally unacceptable. Lawns and fields are always perfectly manicured and decorated by an assortment of lawn statues, wooden lawn art, and dried gourds carved into urns, bowls, and bird houses.
Beside almost every bloodline home sits a camper. Families coordinate their vacations and holidays so they can travel together meeting at the same campground near Auburn on virtually every excursion. On the few occasions when they opt to leave the campers at home for a beach trip they will still rent a condo large enough to accommodate the extended family.
All events, milestones, and emotions are shared with mutual intensity. They laugh, cry, and get angry with and sometimes even at each other. This extraordinary family bond does not come without conditions and occasionally an “our way or the highway” sentence is handed down. It doesn’t happen often, but some family members have been ostracized for actions or behaviors deemed inappropriate by family leaders.
Around the Loving Hands community, stands an invisible wall that has been built over time with the intent of preserving and protecting the family unit they revere. Outsiders who enter will be welcomed with open arms, shown great hospitality, but always kept at arm’s length and viewed with suspicion.
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