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My View: Our porch provides us with a front-row seat to world

By Judith Whitehead

Several years ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to build our own home. Having owned two homes prior, we knew exactly what we did, and did not, like about them.

The one thing we promised ourselves, if possible, was to add a large porch across the front of the house. It turned out to be the best thing we have loved about our home.

For me, sitting on a covered front porch is the best way to relax and watch the world go by. It’s also a great way to meet the neighbors and people walking through the neighborhood, especially if you are the newbies on the block.

No matter what the weather is, as long as it isn’t too cold, it’s a perfect way to unwind after a long day at work. It also seems to beckon people strolling past to stop and chat.

I find that each change of season gives me an excuse to find my creative self. I adorn the railings, stairs and tables with the most whimsical decorations I can find.

In the fall, I can’t wait until the little trick-or-treaters come to see the Halloween trappings and reach for their candy treat in my “singing box of spells” that holds the candy. I always use battery lights that won’t blow out in my lanterns. Hanging corn stalks provides color on the posts – that is until the squirrels find their way in and make a midnight snack of them.

Then, as winter approaches, colorful lights are strung along the borders. Decorations, such as an old wooden sled and bows that align with the porch, bring out the spirit of the season.

Somehow, a cup of joe tastes 100 percent better when sipped outside on the porch, especially if it is topped off with a little Baileys Irish Cream. On a clear night, my husband and I sit and watch the sun set and feel at peace.

Many of our neighbors have backyard patios, but they never seem to sit out there for very long. They dash out to cook something on the grill and return indoors soon afterward.

We also have a small setup out the back door, but never seem to use it, either. I guess we are just too curious to watch the world go by right in front of our faces.

Each year, we look forward to the arrival of spring. For the last few years, we have been lucky enough to watch the bulbs emerge in our porch pots in March. It is always a battle to keep an eye on the squirrels, who also watch those bulbs bloom.

I think in Western New York we appreciate the smell of fresh blooming flowers in spring more so than in many other parts of the country. It is a welcome fragrance after a long, cold winter.

Even when the wind howls and our porch is drifted with snow, I know there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The change of seasons is one of the perks of living here. We on the East Coast seem to appreciate the different seasons much more than those on the West Coast. We have family members who live out that way and they think it’s winter when the temperature drops to 50 degrees. They don their heavy coats and boots to keep warm, which always makes me smile.

I know that spring is right around the corner when the grocery stores start to stock the flowering starter bulbs in glass jars.

And now that spring has officially arrived – at least on the calendar – I am already imagining myself sitting in my comfortable chair sipping my coffee and feeling the warm breeze across my face. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Judith Whitehead enjoys the view from the front porch of her home in East Amherst in all seasons.
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