Friday, June 18, 2010

Front porches

Until the mid- or late-twentieth century, people sat on their front porches. Neighbors visited, they howdied the people who walked by with strollers and dogs, and it was all very friendly. Then came the era of the patios and six-foot privacy fences. People moved into their back yards, cut off from the neighbors. And it's hard to be neighborly over a six-foot fence. As people who read this blog know, my 1922 house has a commodious front porch, and this year I've worked hard at making it green and lush with herbs, hanging baskets, a prolific plumbago, sweet potato vines, and impatiens. It's a lovely place to sit in the evening and watch the world go by. My writing class prefers to meet on the porch, even when it's a bit hot, and I often sit out there at night reading.
Tonight my porch was host to what porches were meant for--a gathering of neighbors.  Sue, my former neighbor, came back for a visit, and the rest of us gathered--Jay and Susan, Greg and Jaimie, Jordan, Christian and Jacob. It was BYOB, pot luck--and we had great food--I made bourbon hot dogs (some of which got scorched and had to be thrown out because I blithely walked away and left them to simmer, got involved at my desk, and didn't stir them--when will I learn about electric stoves, which I hate?; as punishment, I had one heck of a time cleaning that pan). But I also offered a cheeseball, toasted baguettes, and brownies left from last night's class; Jay brought hummus and pita pieces, Jaimie contributed a black-eyed pea salsa, and Sue brought a dish I never did get to taste, so I can't tell what it was. We gathered around the table, eating standing up for a while, until I convinced Jaimie that she and I should lead the way to the porch. Everyone followed. Jacob is sometimes shy in the company of adults, but these were people he knew and he was charming and outgoing.
We visited, we argued (discussed?) politics, we talked about food and the weather and the BP oil disaster and upcoming summer birthdays and what have you, but it was relaxed, fun, and really not too hot. Most of all it was pleasant to know that I was among good friends, that we all care a lot about each other.
The rest of the day was good too--got my new keyboard, though I haven't yet worked up the gumption to install it. Went to lunch with my old and dear friend, Jim, and we had a good time, though we joined someone we met at the restaurant, so as Jim said, we didn't get to tell secrets. Still it was good to catch up with him. And this afternoon I worked on updating my web page--not a lot to update, but I like to change the recipe page and wish I did it more often. I'll post when the changes are up and, big deal, I changed one sentence on the home page--but it's now accurate to say I have two mysteries with an agent and am about a third into a new one different characters, etc.
So, as I often end posts, life is good.

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