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Missing that old front porch


December 26, 2011
Billie Shelton , The Daily Freeman Journal

Last week, when I was on my way home from my second holiday trip to the grocery store, I called my husband and told him it looked like we'd have to build an addition to our pantry. It was full to bursting before I went to the store, and I wasn't sure just where this new load would fit.

My husband said he'd get his wrecking bar ready, but thankfully it didn't come to that. Everything was shoehorned in. My husband's suggestion was that we just start eating in order to winnow down the abundance we had laid in.

But that didn't account for the refrigerator, which was also packed to the gills with extra Christmas goodies that we thought we needed for the family being home for the holidays. In addition to the menus we had planned for the special meals over the holidays, it felt like we had whatever could possibly be needed for every food contingency.

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That's when it came to me: we could use our breezeway to chill extra dishes that wouldn't fit in the refrigerator. The breezeway, just off the kitchen and heated only minimally, is rather like a walk-in cooler in the winter months. So it would work perfectly for the extra dishes that didn't quite fit in the refrigerator.

The breezeway serves basically the same function as the old enclosed front porch in the house where I grew up. It was completely unheated, and as soon as the weather got cold in the fall the front porch door from the house was closed till spring. Except for when somebody opened the door to put something out there when we couldn't think of what else to do with it. That included extra Christmas dishes that needed chilled - or frozen - and maybe a box of apples the family received as a Christmas gift.

The box of Mrs. See's chocolates sent all the way to Iowa from a family friend in California was kept in the front porch, too, but maybe that was to keep it out of sight so it would last longer.

Although the breezeway fills in just fine for the old front porch during this holiday, it's really not the same the rest of the year. My family spent a lot of time on the front porch during the hot summers. Three sides of the porch were lined with big windows. That was our air conditioning. It kept my mom (rather) cool while she ironed on the front porch, and it kept us cool (kind of) on the hot nights when we'd sleep out there on the old day beds that were there just for that purpose.

Oh, I know the old front porch was nothing special. The windows were loose, and it was drafty enough that even when everything was closed up the dust from outside still drifted in. But it served a useful purpose during all the seasons of the year.

It was torn off the house and replaced by a new living room when I was in high school, but I haven't forgotten it.

Especially at this time of year.



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