Life, like back porch, means taking good and bad

BY BOB WACHS, Columnist
Posted 7/31/20

Some few years ago Better Half and I had a screened-in back porch added to our humble dwelling. It started out to be a deck but somewhere between starting and finishing, we had the inspiration: why …

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Life, like back porch, means taking good and bad

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Some few years ago Better Half and I had a screened-in back porch added to our humble dwelling. It started out to be a deck but somewhere between starting and finishing, we had the inspiration: why not make it a screen porch?

The logic to that was, I thought, very logical. Namely, we could enjoy the benefits of the outdoors: fresh air, sights, sounds, and so forth, without the downside, namely the bugs and skeeters and gnats. So, the deed was done.

Since then, that room has gotten plenty of use. It’s an outdoor dining room, a place for coffee and the newspaper and the site of lots of good naps in the metal glider that once graced my grandma and grandpa’s porch (later handed down to my folks). It’s at the top of the list of my favorite rooms in the house, somewhere in the mix with the study and the Necessary Room.

Another feature that makes it really nice is that a few months ago, the deal Bank and We struck was kaput. The 30-year “pound of flesh” arrangement was over. Bank was like Elvis — namely having left leaving the building. I have no complaints with the deal. The good folks who built our place did a fine job. And in addition, the deal served as a great math lesson for me. I learned that because of something called compound interest we paid back about three times what Bank loaned us.

But that’s OK. Both Better Half and I were away at work, plus we didn’t have any usable skills to help and the folks who built the place probably would have charged us triple for just getting in the way.

So, after all is said and done, it’s been a good deal.

The screen porch I mentioned earlier came later. And, as noted, it’s been great. But in addition to the uses, I’ve also learned something from it about life. And that is that the best laid plans of mice and men sometimes — often, in fact — can and do go astray.

The other morning, my mind was made up to take the morning paper and a cup of stout black coffee out to said glider. Throwing open the doors to the porch, I was greeted by the song of a quartet of birds, a gentle morning breeze even in the midst of our heat wave of the day, the early rays of the sunshine ... and a nasal announcement that Pepé Le Pew had crossed the yard.

Maybe that’s why the family pooch barked all night.

From time to time, some folks have told me they’ve never smelled the presence of a skunk. Then they’ll ask, “What does it smell like?”

All I can say is that when a skunk or two has been by and done their skunk thing, you’ll know.

Anyway, it made me realize life, of course, is like that. Sometimes the unique smell of a skunk of some sorts will come along and interrupt our good plans, ideas and thoughts, such as the midst of what’s going on now with the pandemic and social unrest. So, I’m pretty sure the best response to what’s going on — as well as visits from skunks — is to give things a little time, pay attention and do the right thing but don’t get your underwear in a wad and go inside for the coffee and newspaper.

And give Pepé and all the other skunks lots of room.


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