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Turquoise table invites conversation

Staff writer

A turquoise table sits in the front yard of a home on South Ash St. in Hillsboro, beckoning people to stop and visit or take a rest. It signifies a place where people can meet in small groups to establish a sense of community.

Connie Wiens and her neighbor, Renae Plett, got the idea for a “turquoise table” from a book by that name by Kristin Schell, who wrote about how she came up with a turquoise table as a way to develop relationships with people in her own community in Austin, Texas.

She has a website and is a public speaker and blogger about food, faith, and hospitality. Her turquoise table idea has spread across the U.S. and to several other countries.

The Hillsboro women both agreed that life has gotten so busy that neighbors often don’t know their neighbors, and their children don’t play together like they did in the past.

The two women ordered a picnic table kit, put the table together, and painted it turquoise.

The table made its debut last summer. The women met there as time allowed, discussing topics of mutual interest.

“We sat out there quite a bit, and a few people walked by and stopped to talk,” Wiens said.

They brought the table out again this spring.

Wiens said she hasn’t had much time so far this summer to join Plett there, but sometimes, Plett and her son, Landry, sit at the table to play games or read books, making themselves available to others walking by for sharing and listening.

Sometimes they get a wave from people driving by.

Wiens said she spotted a turquoise table in Newton last summer. She thinks the idea eventually will grow and bring neighborhoods together.

The color of the table doesn’t have to be turquoise, as a Durham woman proved.

Ginger Becker started a book club last April to bring people together. “The Turquoise Table” was their first book. They sat at a special table made for her yard, but the wood was too beautiful to paint, she said.

People come from Hillsboro, Tampa, and Marion once a month to sit together, discuss a book, and share their lives. Sometimes, as many as 24 people show up.

“We use it a lot,” Becker said.

Schell said turquoise tables could be used in other settings besides residential yards, such as business districts, classrooms, and farmers’ markets.

“Hospitality isn’t the same as entertainment,” Schell wrote. “Genuine hospitality begins with opening our lives. Sharing our hearts is more important than sharing a plate of chocolate chip cookies.”

She has initiated a similar movement known as Front Yard Friday.

Last modified June 13, 2019

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