What’s it like to have someone over for dinner?

There’s a commentary tucked in the middle of Star Tribune reporter Kim Ode’s lovely story of two families in Minneapolis who have been sharing weekly dinners with each other for over 30 years.

They weren’t sure they wanted to talk to a reporter.

We were a little self-conscious about it,” Nancy [Gaschott] said. Would readers misunderstand their motives, think them smug, as if they’d invented sliced bread?

“We talked about what Family Dinner was and what it wasn’t,” Ann said. “Is this an important thing to share, and why?”

In the end, they believe that their story makes a point about community, about being intentional, about being there for others — even about trying new recipes.

“And,” Don [Luce] added, “we realized it had been 30 years.”

The paragraph raises an increasing question in the age of social media which sees a dark world everywhere: Why would anyone tell their story anymore?

Fortunately, they did because in a state like Minnesota — put that old joke here about Minnesotans are willing to give you directions to anywhere but their home — the notion of community — real community is a valuable tale, even if it leaves some of us — ahem — feeling that in 26 years in Minnesota, we’ve never had anyone not connected by marriage or romance over for dinner.

There’s nothing particularly earth shattering about “Family Dinner”, Ode notes.

“When a generation witnesses the security of unconditional friendship, the future seems less formidable,” she says.