My grandparents used to call it “visiting”. Every Colorado summer evening, except those which featured tornado warnings, my grandparents would sit out on the front porch with my parents and waive to the families taking an evening stroll, or dogs taking their owners for walks. All the homes on the street had driveways, front yards and large front porches capable of fitting a couple chairs and a bench. Occasionally neighbors would walk up the driveway and talk. I don’t know what they talked about, because being I was impatient and incapable of sitting still, I climbed the old cottonwood in the yard, or ran my matchbox cars through the sprinkler water that pooled in the sidewalk gutter where the road curved and flattened. Those are good memories and the genesis of my liking of porches.
Sunday I went to my buddy Danny’s porch to eat the pulled pork his wife made. Danny’s infant daughter joined us, but didn’t contribute much to the conversation.
Conversation bounced from weight training supplements to taxes, car payments to eating fish hearts and I knew it was here. It’s officially porch season. I’ve been sitting outside in my $30 plastic chair next to the Weber grill for a few weeks, but with May less than a week away the porch pre-season is in full swing.
Porch season is just as much a literal sitting on porch as it is a frame of mind. You start to lose track of TV shows, because earth has warmed enough to cool off in delightful and peacefully warm evenings – perfect sitting weather.
My porch looks down a long stretch of grass under a weeping willow with old wooden fences on each side. My landlord’s dogs like porch season, because they get to yell at me with more frequency, but once they get tired, I can get back to my book. Sometimes the book gets put down and I just stare at the orange through the almond trees of my neighbor. The dull hum of Highway 99 is present, but it can be ignored, because it’s porch time.
It’s time for lemonade, ice tea, snakes of chocolate syrup over mounds of vanilla ice cream. Better yet, the sound of a homemade ice cream maker magically making sweet goodness from milk, cream, vanilla, sugar and ice.
It’s time for standing up to flip burgers, roll brats and steaming veggies in butter, garlic and parmesan cheese. The days of sweet corn will be here before we know it, so will the odd shapes of scorched skin missed by the SPF 30.
Copious sweat comes with evening jogs. You’re not running faster, it was just hotter, but you feel like more of an animal anyway when you cool down with cold water – while sitting in the chair out front.
Porch season also coincides with other important aspects of life. It’s time for center fielders to charge 15-foot grounders on the t-ball field and venders to charge fifteen bucks for garlic fries.
It’s time for eight months of NBA playoffs and eighty minute drives to my spot on a certain river for huge brown trout. It’s time to pay $15 for campsites and realize you forgot stakes, tent poles or, gasp, coffee. It’s time to reclaim the spots on the river and guess how much higher (or thanks to a lack of snowpack, lower) it was than last time and figure out where the trout have stacked up. Later it will be time to drop a hot dog into the fire and fish it out if no one is looking. After all, it’s dark and it all tastes like charcoal and lighter fluid anyway, what’s the big deal?
All will be well, because when the camping chairs are unfolded you’ll assume the posture of the nomadic porch-sitter, and life will be good.
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