When I first moved here thirteen years ago, I remember being bowled over by all the big front porches I spied everywhere.
Shortly thereafter, I told our realtor that a front porch was one of my few non-negotiables.
We later found a home on a street lined with big Craftsman homes, hundred year old Dutch Elms and very little traffic.
Sure, there were things the house didn’t have, but it had other charms, not the least of which was a front porch both wide and long.
The first time I saw it with the sun streaming upon it, I knew that this house and my family were meant to be together.
As you can tell, I’ve got a thing about porches.
To me front porches are a bridge between your home and your yard — a landing spot betwixt and between. It’s great for playing cards, hanging out or casual entertaining.
My battered old robin’s egg blue wood bench becomes a sideboard all summer long.
For the first couple years, though, my porch was an afterthought. A place to hold sports gear. Or firewood stacked willy-nilly. A cluttered Grand Central Station of items going out and coming in.
It was always pretty — the paint, big glass windows and a couple chairs saw to that — but it didn’t look tended to in a way the rest of my house has, and it was time to change all that.
So in the last year or so I’ve been giving my porch a little extra love.
I found a tin sign I bought in Sonoma twenty years ago and I hung it up out there.
It joined the swing I already had out there — and just recently I swapped out all the pillows to give it a fresh new look.
Now it’s ready for a late afternoon sit.
There are extra pillows and blankets at the ready if we want to curl up or have a soft landing in the grass.
And I’ve found a way to store footballs, tennis stuff and other stuff in a way that makes me happy — and keeps the porch from looking junky.
(The benefit of this giant Thermos cooler is it’s great for extra seating when need be, too.)
And now that my porch has been spruced up, I feel a lot better about leaving stuff on it for others to pick up.
It seems like every week I send out a text out and let people know I’ve good food to share; when I can’t get it to them, people know to just swing by my porch and pick up some goodness to go.
Here’s some Green Chili Pork Stew that awaited pals last week.
And the spaghetti and meatballs leftovers I left for our Japanese friends on Sunday.
Lest you think that my porch is a revolving door of just things going out to others, au contraire.
I’m blessed to say that my porch is also a regular dropping off place for all kinds of treats.
Nothing like heading out on errands and finding a Bridgetown Bagel, fully loaded, as you head out your front door.
I’m always tickled to see that someone has dropped off flowers on my little French cafe table.
So pretty and surprising that it always makes my day.
And Elona, you always drop off treats– but I rarely take pics as we often eat them before pictures can be snapped.
Amy is another drop-off queen.
She leaves me the most delectable treats, for no particular reason or holiday.
Like these macaroons from a bakery I’d never been to.
And this swag bag from Foster and Dobbs.
Wouldn’t you be so excited to find aged Wisconsin cheddar and Chop salami on your porch?
Or another time, to be surprised with this sandwich from the same place?
(Gobs of gratitude, Mary Ann, for this mighty mouthful.)
It’s pretty amazing the variety of different things left for me on my porch.
There were these fantastic cookies from sweet Stephanie.
There is often wine and sometimes flowers from Emily.
Danielle is an amazing cook and blogger and here’s what she dropped off.
Maya is another wonderful woman I know and she dropped off dulce de leche with a big bag of crisp apples.
And just this morning, Gillian returned a bunch of plates with what she knows is one of my favorite new breads.
Every time I walk up to my porch and spy a treat from a pal I remember one of my favorite books —To Kill a Mockingbird.
Readers will recall there was a tree in which Boo Radley left treats for Scout, and these little treasures were at first a source of mystery and then the beginnings of conversation (and ultimately a kind of friendship) between them.
Same so these drop offs.
Whether I’m doing the drop off…
or am surprised by another’s generosity,
these on-going conversations between pals is so much fun.
It’s like porch drop-offs are the currency of my neighborhood and one of the sweeter ways in which love and attention is both given and accepted.
All these treats remind me how lucky I am to live in a food-crazed, open-hearted and porch-bedecked Portland.
And finally, a very Happy Mother’s Day to all the sensational women in my life.
This bud’s for you.