Imagine a time

Pick yourself a porch, sit a spell and pour a cup of coffee or tea. Welcome to Club Verandah!

Pick yourself a porch, bring your favorite friends, sit a spell and pour a cup of coffee or tea.
Welcome to Club Verandah!

“…I like to close my eyes and imagine a time when life was simpler. I like to think about a time when no one would choose text messaging over good, live conversation. I think about sweet tea or perhaps an after dinner cup of coffee enjoyed in time to the rocking of an old cane chair. Children play in the front yard imagining themselves a ship captain or the Lone Ranger out on the mesa.”
Andrew Odom

If y’all read the comments, you know that Sheila and I have started an imaginary association called CLUB VERANDAH.  You don’t have to be southern to join, although you’ll meet lots of us here who speak with that unmistakable drawl that goes so well with porch-sitting.

All you have to do to join, is travel in your imagination to a time you remember in the past, or hope for in the future, when you can sit in a rocking chair among congenial people and enjoy sipping your beverage of choice (for me it’s tea, iced or hot) while chatting about things that tend to lower the blood pressure and bring on the smiles.

As the darkness falls, you’ll see some fireflies lighting up the night and you’ll hear the laughter of the kids playing hide and seek, or Red Rover, or some other game you remember playing long ago.  If you tell them it’s time to go home, they’ll beg for just a few more minutes to play, and you’ll agree.

There’s a pitcher of icy lemonade over there on the side table, and plenty of herbal tea and fruit juice in the kitchen.  I think I saw some freshly-baked cookies in there too, and there’s sliced watermelon in the icebox — I mean, the fridge — along with a Key Lime pie made with the juice Maybelle brought back for me from Key West yesterday.

Y’all feel free to stay as long as you want.  We’ll leave the light on for you.

One year ago today:

An enchanted hour


  1. Thank you, Julia, how delightful!
    My Minnesota verandah is really more of a deck, and although the mosquitos chase us in as darkness falls, the laughter and smiles are common. I’m smiling right now, thinking about it!

    • Yes Susan, we have a deck too. As much as I love verandahs, I’ve never ever lived in a home that had one. The front porch of my childhood home was too narrow for furniture, and the tiny lanai (patio) we had in Hawaii just wasn’t the same as a verandah. I didn’t realize you had mosquitoes in Minnesota. I thought they were a southern thing since we didn’t have them anywhere we lived outside the south. I guess the California climate is too cool for them. I have some really nice organic oil-based repellent that works very well. Plus it has a lovely scent, I think, though the mosquitoes obviously disagree! If I forget to put it on in the evening, I come back in with a dozen bites. I’m glad you enjoyed our little imaginary evening. I forgot to mention that we have the bug zapper going and the citronella candles lit, so they aren’t “bugging” us!

  2. raynard

    Julia, my boyhood home growing up had a extention to the house. That was our dining room and a door lead to the porch in the backyard.I close my eyes, and see my old neighbor on my right Mr Frank’s yard. One my left was a Spanish gentleman who was a painter with 5 kids . He had a overflowing rose bush into our yard along with a grapevine. . Right in the middle was a large Hydrania bush. Many summer nights, my 2 younger sisters and I would catch lighting bugs after dinner on the porch sitting at the picnic table. You know that porch also held a cage with a duck in it? ( whatever happened to him is like” A X flies or Area 51 mystery). I did my share of lemonade, kool-aide and” pre made ice tea.( soda was a delicacy with my older sisters).. We would spend 5 summers in that house before moving and” doing the apartment thing..While ( my sisters have my late mother’s photo albums) we hardly sit around and” chit chat”, I have those memories on my heart to share with others. My childhood friend who I reconnected with shared some of his meories of us growing up during the 1960’s. ( Young People just dont know how Youtube bring a smile to my face and laughter to my heart…..

    • Raynard, thanks for that written snapshot of your yard, I can just picture it (though what I am picturing might not look like the real thing, except the atmosphere comes across). I love hydrangeas. Ours haven’t done too well lately now that the trees are overgrown and they get hardly any sun, plus they are being choked out by the azaleas. I used to love catching lightning bugs and could never understand why I couldn’t get enough of them in a jar to make a glow like a lantern. Those summertime memories are almost as much fun as the ones of Christmas.

  3. Thank you for the memories of my time loving porches. They, too, are my great love! We have a back porch here in Florida and lots of creatures to watch out under the live oaks.

    • LIVE OAKS! They are so beautiful. If there’s a more enchanting thought than sitting on a verandah looking out on live oaks with lots of creatures nearby, I don’t know what it is. But I hope none of the creatures are gators, at least not big ones! (Matt loves to watch Gator Boys and sometimes when I’m passing through I’ll stop and watch them trying to get a gator out of someone’s basement!) I will never forget being in the Everglades and walking along those beautiful walkways and looking down and seeing a tiny gator right nearby. It was obviously a little baby but it still scared me silly.

      • Rene

        Is “Gator Boys” like “Billy the Exterminator?”

        • I’ve never really watched it (it comes on Animal Planet) and I’ve never heard of Billy the Exterminator so I’m not sure. But I think the whole premise of Gator Boys is that they go capture gators that show up in places populated by humans — often people’s basements. Yikes!! I’m glad someone else is in that line of work because I wouldn’t want to do it!

          • Rene

            Billy is primarily a “no-kill” exterminator (I know, an oxymoron, but it makes things that much more interesting), so the show mostly revolves around him capturing & removing wildlife in & around people’s homes (including gators on occasion). He was once featured on an episode of “Dirty Jobs” about people who passionate about their work, I assume he got his own t.v. show after that.

            • Sounds interesting! I looked it up and saw it was on A & E, and I don’t think we get that channel, so maybe that’s why I had never heard of him. Maybe he should call himself “Billy the Eliminator” since you can eliminate something from a specific place, without actually killing it.

  4. Sheila

    Julia, and all that joined us at Club Verandah, what is it about a porch? Whether you sit a spell, only linger a few minutes, talk or just daydream, it just feels different on the PORCH. We share a calendar (Out On The Porch) and every month finds us on a different porch. Right, Julia? A simple pleasure…. Ahhhh! 🙂 🙂

    • Sheila, I think it’s because a porch is a housework-free, television-free, telephone-free (at least in the old days) and care-free zone. The only work I can ever remember doing on a porch is shelling beans. Since you mentioned the calendar I just had to take a peek at next month. It’s a doozy. A fabulous view that I would describe as almost exotic. It sure isn’t anywhere near us, I can tell you that! Club Verandah is EVERYWHERE. For all I know they even have igloos with porches.

      • Sheila

        Club Verandah really is a state of mind and maybe a little state of heart! 🙂

        • Sheila, it’s both! I just enjoyed a few brief minutes there this morning. Be sure to see Susan’s comment to you!

    • I wanted to also thank Sheila for her part in bringing this virtual verandah to us. It’s so great to have friends that help us dream these sweetest dreams!

      • I agree! Sheila really brightens up my world every day.

        • Sheila

          I bet you never thought you’d be the sunbeam to so many! 🙂

          • Aw, thanks Sheila. I don’t tend to think of myself as a sunbeam, so I really appreciate that. I will try to live up to it!

      • Sheila

        Susan, thank you for joining us and for your many comments that I’ve enjoyed. There are many topics and emotions shared here by so many very special people! 🙂

  5. Carlyle

    Delightful Imagery !!

    • Thank you. 🙂 You would recognize some of the places that came to my mind as I was writing it! One memory I didn’t mention is the sound of rain on the metal roof of our screen porch. Sometimes when we would have to get out of the pool because of a thunderstorm we would sit on the porch and eat watermelon while we waited for it to blow over. I loved the loud sound the rain made on that roof.

  6. Yes, I remember that time. Summers of tag, hide and go seek, and pick-up games of baseball with neighborhood kids.
    My grandfather owned a home with a front porch. From it you could see cars passing-that would give you a honk, the Good Humor ice cream truck-with the sound of its bells jingling, and a passer-by; giving a hello and a wave.
    Now, leisure time has moved, by many, to one’s backyard. Privacy rules today, and with it, is the loss of what it once meant to be neighbor.

    • Alan, Jeff’s home in Tennessee had a front porch with a swing that sat back from the main highway, and I used to love it how cars would always honk as they drove by. I loved sitting in that porch swing. I agree with you that the quest for privacy (which is so elusive in so many ways nowadays) has driven us apart from each other. I once read an interesting article by a sociologist who discussed how the advent of the garage door opener had made us isolated because it enabled people to come and go without ever seeing each other. One thing I loved about having Pasha was how walking him introduced us to all our neighbors who had dogs. Now that I walk alone I still visit more with people who have dogs with them. They are great ice-breakers. But if it wasn’t for dogs I would not know any but our closest neighbors. Hide and seek is one of my favorite childhood memories. We would have large groups of kids in the neighborhood playing it until it got dark, sometimes even later than that. Our back porch was always “home” and there were fabulous places to hide everywhere. We also used to play tetherball and croquet, another great favorite. I got a croquet set when our sons were young, but I could never get anyone but me interested in it.

      • Ah-the good old days…Julia!

        • I find myself saying that a lot lately! I’m sure that means I’m getting old. But summertime brings a lot of childhood memories, almost as many as Christmas.

  7. I am definitely a member of the verandah sitting club! My dream cottage by the sea has one and I sit on the verandah as much as possible smelling the salt air, listening to the surging rhythm of the South Pacific Ocean as it makes landfall after a long journey from the coast of Chile……… Magic!!

    • Pauline, I will join you there anytime! I can almost hear that ocean – I wonder if it makes a different sound in the southern hemisphere? A house by the sea would be a dream house for me too. Lucky Sheila has one with water views in the front AND the back!

  8. Julia, hello. you all are invited to my front porch…verandah. Its L-shaped and large enough for wicker chairs and tables at one end….a swing at bottom of the L, with a set metal table and chairs. I have pots of flowers sitting around and ferns hanging, with a large flag by the steps. Tea and coffee ready… 🙂

    • Merry, this sounds absolutely perfect! Beam us up! I’ll bring some cookies. 😀

  9. I so get it and appreciate your veranda(h) life. I was born in Missouri but raised in that sort of neighborhhod in small town MI. So here’s to iced tea, my summer fave!

    • Thank you Cynthia! I am so grateful for all these charming small towns all over America. When I was young it was the city that drew me most, and I still love walking in urban areas, but as I have grown older, the small towns have won my heart. So many of them have kept their “downtown” areas (usually only one main street with a few side streets) attractive and updated. I hope someday to see more of Michigan than the Detroit airport. Jeff and I fell in love with Missouri when we drove through there.

  10. Our veranda was the front stoop, everyone on our block in Maspeth, Queens N.Y. had one. In the summer after dinner we would all gather at someone’s stoop. Why we called the stairs to the front entrance of our home’s stoop’s I don’t know, but stoop it was. That was home base for the evening for most of the thirty or so kids living on 52nd. Ave. From there we would decide what to play, Hide and go Seek, catch lightning bugs, kick the can, tag or stoop ball. Parents would gather in small groups on other stoops watching us play our night time games. Once in a while one of the neighbors would cut up a large delicious sweet as could be watermelon, what a treat that was! We would devour the cold delicious fruit and of course the contest was on to see who could spit the pits the farthest. Summer was a wonderful time for me, a time I visit often now,.

    • Patricia, thanks so much for your vivid description! It sounds so delightful; I almost felt as if I was there. I believe I first learned the term “stoop” from reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which is one of my all-time favorite books. Is there anything better on a hot night than ice-cold watermelon? In recent years I have discovered that cold watermelon cools me down even more than an ice cold drink. It seems to stay cold on the inside longer. I can just imagine all the kids would come running when someone would come out with the watermelon – instant break in the game!

  11. Larry

    I remember our porch in Detroit. In the early 1960’s everyone went for walks in the evening and would step up on the porch and talk a moment. Mostly, they didn’t sit down. They shared the latest news or updates and then went back to their walk. Before the days of the internet, news traveled from porch to porch. Ahh, those were the days.

    • Yes, that porch to porch business reminds me of the old saying “telephone, telegraph, tell a woman.” In Hawaii they call that “the coconut wireless.” 😀 I sometimes take longer on my walks because I stop to visit with neighbors (or their dogs) but it is time well spent, I think.

  12. Squeek, Squeek, squeek. squeek…..slam

    That’s me in a rocker on your verandah, just enjoying a balmy day. Then I remembered there was pie, my favourite actually, and sauntered through the screen door to fetch us a slice. It’ll take a moment to whip some cream, why not close you eyes and listen to the bee’s in the lavender? Be back in a jiff. My word Julia, if your ice has done and melted in our chilled lemon tea, let me refresh that too. I picked some fresh mint from the garden this morning, shall I drop a leaf in there too? My o my, what a glorious day!

    Swish, Swish, chip, chop…..nothing but the sound of the neighbours push mower in perfect harmony with the bumbling bees to keep you from dozing off completely. Must stay awake till the pie arrives, mustn’t let Petals eat alone……………

    Phew Julia, I was getting down right sleepy just thinking about a visit on your verandah. We actually have a nice little cover porch now and I just love it. Every house in this neighbourhood does. It was planned and built to be reminiscent of days past. Vintage street lamps, treed boulevards and porches. Very neighbourly. Now if only someone would make a Key Lime pie 😀 xoxoxox

    • K, I just love how well you fit in with our alternate universe! We simply must get going on those plans for developing the rest of Boomdeeville South. The ladies down at the realty office told me that there are more people wanting to move in here than you can shake a stick at! But the landscaper told me not to get myself in a tizzy, these park garden plans and golf cart trails can’t be rushed. I just love the way you describe Boomdeeville North. I’ll try to find out where they know how to make a real Key Lime pie — not the green kind! As Sheila says, TTFN! (Ta-ta for now!)

      • LOL, I’ll start branding everything like ding-dong Donald Trump. Boomdeeville Pool, Boomdeeville Gardens, Scrapbooming, hehehe.
        We actually shared Key Lime Pie Friday night at a restaurant called Joey’s. I have Veggie lettuce wraps so I save room for desert. We wash it down with a Cappuccino. It’s just the best pie we’ve ever had. I figure it’s better than making and eating a whole pie 😀 TTFN Julia xo

        • Hey, that gives me an idea. Instead of the garbage dump, in Boomdeeville South, we can call it “the Garbage Trump” 😀 or maybe just “the Donald place.” I will start looking for a good local Key Lime Pie place for when you come!

          • LOL, ‘The Garbage Trump’ !!! That’s really awesome, good one J.

            I swear, that guy doesn’t say two sentences without reciting his own name, gads he’s annoying. But, at least he must be an good dad. His kids seem well adjusted, motivated and polite. I give him credit there.
            I can almost taste that pie right now. Mr B ran a errand after work and Boomdee’s getting hungry. Mmmmmmm pie! Can’t wait. Sounds like a dangerous mission to taste pie all over town, LOL Maybe take some back-up! Do your guys like pie?

            • I know nothing at all about the Trump kids. Are they named Donald 2, Donald 3 and Donaldella? As far as researching the Key Lime Pie, I shall rely on crowd-sourcing, with the finalists being subjected to the taste test. I couldn’t possibly get away with tasting it all over town, though that does sound tempting. I know that Jeff and Matt would be happy to assist. 😀

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