Caitlin Doran had an idea. The Rochester resident wanted to bring some joy back to her neighborhood.
So, Doran formed the Slatterly Salute.
All the residents from around Slatterly Park were invited to come out on their doorstep and wave to their neighbors at 7 p.m. daily.
There were just two people on Seventh Avenue’s sidewalk at 6:48 p.m. Wednesday, but by 7:10, that number had ballooned to 25. They were there with a friendly flap of the hand, a familiar twiddle of the finger, a hale and hearty raise on the arm.
It wasn’t fancy. It wasn’t supposed to be.
It was just friends making sure everyone was OK.
They didn’t get too close. Handshakes and hugs didn’t happen. They did their best to maintain a 6-foot radius, their contribution to shutting down the spread of the Coronavirus outbreak.
The pandemic may be sweeping the world, but the Slatterly community wants to show that they are united against anything that wants to crash their world.
"It comes out of the need for people to still feel connected, even though we need to practice social distancing," Doran said. "We wanted to find some safe way to still feel that we can interact with our neighbors."
Doran and the rest of the Slatterly crew are using the time to see if any neighbors need anything, other than some banter. It wasn’t just a social hour. It was like a band of Good Samaritans trotting around the neighborhood.
"This is a really great neighborhood," said resident John Potter. "I have two great neighbors on either side of me. It is very nice to be able to get out and be with people and they know your face. One of the people down the block, I’ve been waiting on for 14 years at KwikTrip. It’s just a lot of fun."
Three youngsters made the rest of the group laugh with their constant energy and made-up games. Soon a remote-controlled car came out, which sent Potter’s basset hound, Gunner, into a tizzy.
At that moment, it was easy to forget about the coronavirus.
Stories were told. Potter has lived next to Tom Schotland for seven years. They bantered back and forth about the coronavirus, conspiracy theories and the time Potter nearly suffered a nasty injury when they were trying to remove a tree from the backyard.
"I wasn’t hurt," Potter said. "The only thing that bothered me was that I gashed my really nice vest."
"Oh, you should’ve seen the look on my face," Schotland replied. "I thought John had just dissected himself."
They laughed. They waved. They smiled.
"People need that safety valve and I think this can be that right now," Doran said.
With the clock closing in on 8 p.m., the sun began to set. The Slatterly Salute was nearing its nightly close. One by one, the neighbors made their way back to their houses.
"See you tomorrow," one yelled. "Same time, same place!"