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Posts Tagged ‘Geraniums’

If I were a stranger coming to visit me for the first time, I’m not quite sure what I’d think of myself. I would probably be so distracted by all the crap that I’d probably forget to ring the doorbell. I might even run. Or I’d wait to see what kind of creature emerged, out of sheer morbid curiosity, given the exterior clues.

I might say the person living here leads a bit of a busy, chaotic life (true).

This person could stand to be a little more organized (false – I am a hapless victim of sharing space with those with less superior organizational skills than myself, and I have learned it is best to keep the peace by resisting my impulses to impose order on a hoarder.).

This person seriously needs more space. Or less stuff (true).

This person should get to work (false, in my imagination).

This person has a mess-o-fun (more true than should be legal).

This person’s porch is a train wreck of information (you be the judge).

If you had blinders on, you would go directly to the door and either ring the doorbell or knock on this:

Grab him by the tail!

While you’re waiting and eavesdropping on the inevitable, audible mayhem indoors, you would glance over at this:

Welcome: We collect shells & friends. And Mardi Gras beads.

That is one of our children’s painted, glittered sand dollars behind the sign; I can’t recall which kid did it when. The only way to find out is to remove it and wait for the little artist to inquire where his masterpiece went. And at the bottom of the green beads, that is a very sun-faded alligator. It was an awesome parade catch last year and was on boastful display on the porch all year. Nobody told us the alligator would turn yellow. Oh, well. We kind of like him hanging around, regardless.

Whimsical junk so far, yes…when I grow up, I will have a more formalized, mature front porch – you know, gas lamps, properly propped cushions on perfectly painted wicker, sculptures, fountain, fireplace.  For now, though, this suits the kids, along with the garish Mardi Gras wreath opposite this scene.

You might trip over this on your way up to the door:

Interesting driftwood rescued from nearby bayou

Hopefully, this will catch your eye on the ground, so that you will not look up and behold this mess:

This Charlie Brown geranium has a date with a dumpster in the near future.

Pathetic. Why do we keep these sorry excuses of fauna? Because in the back of our heads we keep thinking “someday” I will magically emerge from a phone booth as a botanical superhero and nurse it back to a full, brilliant life. And besides, the local nurseries haven’t started carrying the good stuff yet that will take us through spring & summer. I’m holding out. If this bothers you, congratulations – it bothers me too.

(Side note to those born after 1990: Phone booths, kiddies, were cubically rectangular, see-through contraptions, not unlike a vertical version of the cryogenic capsule you’ll find yourself purchasing in the next decade or so. In a phone booth, you deposited a nickel – no, a dime – wait, last time was a quarter – into an old-fashioned telephone, complete with something like an umbilical cord which connected a black box with a rotary dial or buttons, and the receiver. You got to call somebody, and phone numbers began with a word followed by five numbers. In some cases you had to talk to a real person, an “operator,” to input your data verbally. These things were on most city corners. Because they did not have Angry Birds or other apps to occupy them back then, they used to have contests to see how many people could squish into one phone booth at a time. It was also where a dude named Clark Kent transformed into Superman and saved the day.)

In all honesty, the geranium opposite this one on the other side of the porch is doing marvelously, with multiple bright blooms. Really. And when I go to trash the one above, I will have a quandary as to what to do with the good geranium, since people like their porches symmetrical, and it would be porch-heresy to put non-matching hanging plants opposite each other. One year I did that because I wanted to. It drove the neighbors bananas, and I got more questions as to why. Everybody kind of got edgy about it. Geez Louise!

Speaking of symmetry on porches, we here in the South can always tell when a Yankee moves in (or an ingenuine Southerner). They will place two rocking chairs on either side of the front door, typically yards apart. This is front porch-fakery at its best. This is no way to enjoy a tall, frosty glass of sweet tea with another person – it renders you rudely hollering across the porch at each other. Nosireebob, a real Southern porch clusters furniture, even if it’s asymmetrical. It’s all about settin’ a spell and being neighborly.

Now, on our porch, we have two white rockers and this baby, all on one side:

The quintessential front porch amenity

Why is there an orange heart on the swing? Because I had extra paint leftover after I painted our mailbox with a sea scape. And orange is my favorite color. Besides, it went well with the cushion. Yes, symmetry fans, there is another orange heart on the other side, too. Rest well tonight.

It is from here that I sip a glass of this or that and watch my children grow up. From here I train the younger ones to come to me when they are called, the first time. It is where I rest after swinging on the big swing roped to the old oak tree. It is where I read and write and pray. It is where I cool off under the outdoor ceiling fan after a good, hard run. It is where I file away memories, where I unwind, and where I cultivate my marriage and parenthood. Oh, and to watch to see what the neighbors are up to and smile and wave as they go by.

Unfortunately, this is the view from the swing, in the opposite direction:

Holy Clutter, Batman!

That Buzz Lightyear keeps showing up where I least expect him. You’d think we had two in the house. Wait, we do. You have the toy cars, the disassembled hummingbird feeder, ever-open tackle box, useful string not in use, bike helmet, fishing poles, boogie boards, spare worms in blue container like a crown on the heap. Somewhere under that mess is a Radio Flyer wagon. Inner tube off to the side. And beneath the pew is a collection of dried, sandy, water shoes in several sizes and colors, along with some canoe paddles. Don’t forget the cat food and water dishes on the other side of the pew. The cat came with the house; they just kind of threw her into the deal, interest-free. Ditto for the pew. Long story behind the pew and our faith…suffice it to say, it was an original, hand-made pew which first served worshipers in a local church decades ago.

Scattered in front of the porch and beneath the azalea bushes and pineapple plants are scores of shells. We really do collect ’em.

Thanks, God, for front porches, for a sweet place to enjoy life, and for the things that make a house a home, and a home part of a community.

And thanks, dear friend, for joining me on the porch today. Now tell me, what does your front porch, or your front door area, say about YOU? What’s the most unusual, favorite or annoying thing lurking around your entryway?

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