Sunday, September 18, 2011
Our Third Place for the summer has been our neighbors' front porch. Jeff and Randy moved in across the street almost two years ago and they exude hospitality the likes of which I have rarely experienced, especially on a regular basis! Once the weather cooperates their porch decor makes it's way back outside. A round dining table with overhead wine bottle lamp made by a very handy friend, a wicker bench, coffee table and chairs, and gorgeous lush plants make for a lovely oasis. The late afternoon sun is the first to make an appearance on the porch and then Jeff usually heads out with a glass of wine. Randy joins Jeff once he gets home from work and on many evenings I'll simply wave as I head off to one of Ian's soccer games. Luckily there were many beautiful evenings to beckon them to the porch and I found myself looking for excuses to head over to visit. Initially I was a bit hesitant, wondering if I was intruding on the afterwork decompression time that might not lend itself to company. But their big smiles and friendly assurances that I was welcome soon made me a bit of a fixture on their comfy porch. Each time I'd be offered a beverage and sometimes Jeff would run inside only to return with a tray filled with elegantly presented appetizers. Of course if my glass needed replenishing it was instantly taken care of as though I were in a fine restaurant. After several evenings of this I started to bring my own wine, and some small offering like a book or DVD to loan or perhaps a few flowers from my garden. The length of our porch sittings would vary, depending on the comings and goings of our family but the open invitation was always there, even when they were hosting guests. This past week when Randy's parents were in town Eric and I went over to introduce ourselves and sure enough we were there for two hours passing the time and getting acquainted with their family. Perhaps we'll still get in a few porch visits before the hanging ferns come down for winter, I'm hoping we can reciprocate and offer up our basement for movie nights with some warm soup, but it won't compare to the casual seasonal open invitation of their presence on the porch.