Friday, June 22, 2012

Solving the Problems of the World

...is often accomplished by having a good old-fashioned neighborly porch sit, don't you think?

I recall doing this as a kid, sometimes for HOURS AND HOURS.  Summers were enjoyed OUTSIDE, with friends, from the minute the breakfast cereal was gone until the lightning bugs came out in the evening.

Do people still sit on their porches?  We do.  But no other porches in our neighborhood seem to have these gatherings.

Well, we had one of those the other night, and it was a pleasant few hours spent out there - catching up on each other's business,  catching up on other people's business, making fun of the silly-lookin' dogs that waddled by, and solving a few Problems Of The World.  They back up, you know, and somebody's gotta do something about it.

So the husband/lover/best friend (Bob) and I went out and sat down on the front porch, accompanied by a drink of our choice (a chocolate mint martini pour moi, because I missed celebrating National Martini Day on Monday) and a vitamin drink for Bob (his boring choice).  We had just returned from a fine dinner at Olive Garden, and it seemed to be a good time to "set a spell."

It wasn't long before our magnetic and lovely personalities porch began attracting the folks.  A pretty girl passed by, walking her tiny schnauza-poo sort of dog.  Faster than a speeding bullet, our son Caleb burst through the front door and yelled "Hey Jenni!"  Apparently he had just met this very girl several days ago while walking his dog.  Last I knew it, he was working on his computer in the way back of the house, yet somehow his internal sensors were saying "Alert!  Alert!  Pretty girl walking by!"

So the four of us chatted and visited and solved one or two Problems Of The World.  Meanwhile Caleb's weimaraner puppy watched the goings on through the door window.

Jenni's dog, Olive, has a "Napolean complex, " she tells us, and does not play well with others.  Caleb made it clear to me at the end of the evening that he is mighty saddened that Jenni is moving to New York City in a week.  She will be working at the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  I wished her well and told her to work hard and find a cure, as one of my daughters has been fighting thyroid cancer for about 10 years now.  It breaks my heart.
Next Paul came by and sat a spell.  Paul is a tall, lanky, very funny neighbor who lives across the street.  Sometimes Paul's "filter" is not functioning and he says some pretty hilarious stuff.  Not tonight, though.  After meeting the pretty girl Jenni, and while Jenni and Caleb were having their own tete-a-tete on the end of the porch (I wonder what kind of problems they were solving?), Paul opened up about a very rough day he had just had.  That very morning he had placed his elderly and extremely ill father into a nursing home.  The entire previous day and evening had been spent in a frenzy of gathering records, accumulating financial papers, and filling out forms and applications.  We felt his concern, as Bob and I still have our 4 parents, and wonder what the future holds for them.

We all watch a gold Honda van park out front, and Bonnie and Ciel, Paul's wife and daughter, come over and join us on the porch.  We then learned some tidbits about the running of a Bed and Breakfast from Bonnie, who covered for the owners of a local Bed and Breakfast who were vacationing.  Did you realize that makeup STAINS those white towels?  Hotels all use white towels because you can bleach the heck out of them, hopefully removing stains.  Bonnie recalled washing one particular towel 5 cycles and still was unable to remove a stain.  That towel now goes up into the owners' quarters.  I'm glad we solved that World Problem.  I learned there is way more to running one of those establishments than what may appear.  What you don't discuss on the porch?!

Ciel had just come from ballet class and was dressed in traditional ballerina garb:  leotards and hair up in a bun, IN A NET.  We all debated the merits of placing a net over the bun or not (two of my daughters danced and were net-users), and we decided a real ballerina must use a net.  Another World Problem taken care of!

After a bit, Bob was recalling a funny happening which followed a recent fishing trip with Nevin, another neighbor up the street, when they stopped for ice cream cones.  When Nevin pulled the car door shut, his ice cream kerblobbed right off the cone, leaving him upset and Bob laughing like a hyena.  Bob was retelling how Barbara, Nevin's mate, said to Nevin, "What?  Are you six?  You're a grown man, you should have learned how to eat an ice cream cone by now."  

Lo and behold, wouldn't you know here comes Nevin and Barbara driving up the street, ice cream cones in hand.  Again, there was a kerblob.  And again, it was Nevin's cone.  We all had some good belly laughs about that one, as they and their adorable little one-year-old little girl came and joined our little porch party.  

"Great minds discuss ideas;
average minds discuss events;
small minds discuss people."
(Eleanor Roosevelt)

We covered a lot of topics there on the porch that evening:  ideas, plans, concerns, people, places, food, dogs, romances and so much more.  Do we have great minds, or just mini minds?  I don't know.  All I know is that a good time was had on the porch and a few of the Problems Of The World were solved. 

If you're ever in our neck of the woods, please come and "set a spell," we'd be glad to have you.

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