Porch visits and memories

Published 10:25 am Thursday, August 17, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

A day so happy.

Fog lifted early, I worked in the garden.

Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess.

I knew no one worth my envying him.

Whatever evil I had suffered, I forgot.

To think that once I was the same man did not embarrass me.

In my body I felt no pain.

When straightening up, I saw the blue sea and sails.


~ Czesław Miłosz, “The Gift” 


Every morning that it’s not pouring rain or freezing, I carry a cup of coffee to the front porch swing, settling in easy so as not to spill that coffee on my robe. Plumping cushions “just-so” at back and sides, I sway peacefully watching newly-woven webs, a yellow leaf, jeweled hummingbirds zoom in for breakfast. 

My favorite one always visits a while, often perched on a vine or feeder, resting a bit. We get along just fine; she’s a friend sharing coffee or evening wine. The others may bicker over whose turn it is, but not her. She’s patient, the gentle spirit who comes early and returns late; johnny-on-the-spot when fresh nectar’s put out before others realize it. 

Later, fueled by that coffee visit, I often head out to water or work in the garden. Up at the street garden, there’s always dead-heading or weed-pulling to be done. Some things never end. 

This morning, handfuls of weeds later, a car comes along, stops, and I straighten up from pulling errant grass out of the flowers. It’s Hedi Patrick (Chuck Hearon’s sister) and she asks with the famed Hearon humor if I’m receiving. Of course, I am! 

She knows I have a chopstick collection after seeing me use them at a community dinner one night. Of course, sloppy joes were served; I was so proud of remembering to bring my own utensils and plate. Even better, I’d managed to wear a white shirt too. Murphy’s Law: chopsticks and a white shirt with sloppy joes don’t mix. Lesson learned! Anyway, Hedi had brought me the attached chopsticks stored in an Oriental fabric case as a memento of that evening! 

Glad for a break, I take Hedi down to see the rest of the garden with a tour inside. No charge! We walk out to the porch to sit a spell. What could be better than an impromptu visit on a nice day, breezes kissing leaves around us, hummingbirds busy? Time flew as we remembered shelling peas on front porches, real buttermilk, cornbread, warm tomatoes, dirt roads, summer days outside, dinner bells, more trees than people. The conversation drifted to crochet and knitting, family treasures, the danger of watching baking shows, food in Italy and France, to simple delight in taking time to enjoy meals and not hurrying through the world. We discussed perils of I-26, why the fire department should be closer to it, and ways to deal with grief as well as leaking wine boxes. You sure can get a mighty-fine conversation on Saluda porches! 

I  think of times people are in a rush to get somewhere, do something more important, and how much gets missed out in that hurry. By the time we parted ways it was nearly two o’clock, time had drifted like a lazy river. Those weeds can wait. 

Happy August Birthday to B.J. Kent, Paul Stoney, Jen Pace, Zack Pace, Don Mintz, Caroline Tindal, Nora Ward, Samantha Ward, Reeda Ward, Natalie Aabye, Verlie Murphy, Peter Eisenbrown, Coleman Bradley, Ryan Bradley, Libby Archer, Rodney Thompson, Cathy Jackson, Bill Jameson, Tayloe Francisco, Troy McAfee, Patricia Carmichael, Syman Thomas, Jade Burdett, Ron Bennett, Rob Schloss and Evan McGee. Add your birthday to the list! 

Feel free to contact me at bbardos@gmail.com, (828) 817-6765, P.O. Box 331, Saluda, NC 28773, Facebook, or visit bonniebardos.com