All summer long, in our neighborhood, we played Cowboys and Indians. I was the horse. It was OK with me. I happen to like horses. Besides, I was the only one old enough and strong enough to pull the wagon, or give horseback rides.

The downside for the other kids was that they had to keep reminding me that horses don’t talk. I was the oldest, and therefore I was the Boss. Hoss. They couldn’t shut me up.

That was a long (long) time ago, and of course things have changed. Now I find myself sitting on a dock in Spain, in the shadow of a castle.  OK, come on, it’s not that much of a stretch from Cowboys and Indians to Castles, Knights, and Princesses.

Spanish Sunday - Writing in DéniaSitting here, with this amazing view, I realized that the distance from that little bitty town in Texas to a Mediterranean village in Spain isn’t really that much of a surprise.  After all, cowboys, indians, knights, and princesses were all loosely organized into their own little packs. They dressed alike, spoke the same language, lived in similar circumstances, and (you knew this was coming…) enjoyed the same kind of food.

When I was a kid I loved being part of a group. Our neighborhood mob even dubbed ourselves The Cotter Drive Kids’ Association.  And we did a lot more than just play together. We organized talent shows and parties and important business ventures like lemonade stands.

I grew up and eventually slipped away from any type of group participation. It wasn’t on purpose, I just sort of drifted that direction. I was busy. Husband, kids, work, and an occasional meal with friends was about all I had the time for.

Then I came to Spain.  It was almost like I had groupie radar. Without even realizing it, I had landed in a place where the culture is centered around people coming together, to work and to play. I’d been drawn right back to the kind of strong community that I was raised in.

I was immediately a bit envious of what I saw. Many families still follow the tradition of Sunday Lunch at Mom or Grandma’s house. And if that kind of togetherness doesn’t float your boat, there is a club for just about anything you can think of — festival organizing, sports supporters, backyard athletes, musicians, artists, and of course food and wine.  Spain celebrates more with food than any place I’ve ever been.

Of course it does. Otherwise, why would I be here?

So, I thought it would be fun to share with you a little bit about all these kinds of clubs, and how they work.  They are, after all, an integral part of the culture, and they’re a great way to create connection — but mostly they’re just plain old fun.

Spain Fila GroupAnd what harm could it do to put a little more fun in your life?

I’ve quizzed our Spanish friends about how these various organizations work, so I’ll share the basics with you over a couple of blog posts.  In the meantime, if you’re considering making time in your busy life to get together over some great food (and maybe a little wine), check out the Spanish Sunday Cooking Club.