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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Life 101: Screened porch

By Rick Watson

Last Sunday I woke up early, I lay in bed silently going over my “gratitude list.”  In the distance I heard thunder.

I put on a pot of coffee and stepped out to the screen porch to sit for a while.  The wind coming out of the west was making the chimes tinkle, doves cooed in the pines waiting for Jilda to feed them.  I could smell rain in the distance and made a mental note to add screened porch to my gratitude list.

A few years ago we made the decision to do some home improvements.  A screened porch was at the top of Jilda’s list.  It is now our favorite spot.  A ceiling fan, a tile topped table and lots of plants make it homey and comfortable.  A string of white Christmas lights surround it and twelve sets of wind chimes give us atmosphere and soothing sounds.

A few weeks ago we were having our morning coffee on the porch and we noticed a tiny sparrow inside.  I realized the ceiling fan was on, so I jumped up and cut the fan off, while we tried to figure out what to do with the bird.

As the fan stopped spinning I moved to open the door so the bird could escape.  Instead the bird dropped to the floor and scooted out a tiny tear in the screen.  It was obvious she had done that before.

Looking around the porch, nothing was out of the ordinary, until I looked at the rack where my fly rods hang.  There’s a small wicker heart shaped basket the hangs with the rods.

A closer look revealed bits of straw hanging from the small basket.  I took a closer look and heard a little tweeting sound and saw three tiny birds.

As Jilda looked, we heard the 

momma fussing at us.  We knew we could not use the fan for a while and couldn’t fix the tear in the screen.  Our unexpected guests had to be taken care of and protected.

When I was growing up, screened porches were common.  It was a place to shell peas, visit, and have a glass of tea.  I know that building that porch was a very smart thing to do.  Jilda does art on that porch, I write my column there, it is the perfect place to have morning coffee.   We have written songs there, shared a glass of wine with friends and eaten meals on that tile-topped table.  It really is the best room in the house.

Rick Watson
Rick Watson
Rick Watson was a beloved member of the Walker County community, especially in east Walker County. His “Life 101” column was almost always written from the peacefulness of his 12-acre farm in the Empire community. His work focused on observing the joys of rural life.

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