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Small Wonders: Exploring the Adirondacks

September 24, 2010|By Patrick Caneday

I'm always saddened when I see a front porch with no one sitting on it. I notice them most often as I ride my bike through town, or on the rare long walk. You see so much more of the world when you're not in your car.

The overabundance of vacant front porches is made more depressing just before dinner or sunset, times when everyone should stop, sit in front of their house and watch the world go by for a few minutes.

Not long ago I was standing in my front yard watching the daughters do the silly things they do, when I was joined by my neighbor Scott and his daughter. Normally, the girls play in one place for about two minutes before moving on to their next playing field like butterflies with OCD.


But when it appeared they were happy in the front yard, I brought a couple of rarely used, wooden Adirondack chairs from the backyard and set them on the front lawn. Scott and I sat and relaxed.

That night I left those chairs where they were because I'm generally a very lazy person and hate cleaning up after myself. Though I knew they were defenseless against the elements and automatic sprinklers, there was something so pleasing about the sight of them in that corner of the lawn; the Birds of Paradise hedge behind them, the palm trees and neighbor's olive tree providing an arbor overhead.

It's an area the kids hardly explore, making it a perfect place from which to sit and watch them. It's shady and offers a pleasant view of the neighborhood; a great spot from which to yell at the cars speeding down our residential street.

Scott followed his kid down the next day after school, and a bottle of wine magically appeared. The scene repeated itself a few days later. His wife and mine visited, and we found a few more chairs. I dusted off a dilapidated old bamboo end table to set our drinks upon. The chairs are now a fixture on the front lawn. The gardeners move them when they mow, but always place them right back where they belong.

My grandparents were married some 60 years, qualifying them as experts on just about everything in life. They had a name for their evening cocktail: the Shibobby. Legend has it the name was how my oldest sister pronounced the mysterious concoction of Bourbon and water. They liked theirs served tall, in a generic plastic glass. No buckets or tumblers for them.

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