We just welcomed 2017. We usually think that the new year means a new beginning. Our usual thoughts are that “this year” we will give our lives new meaning, we will do the things that keep body and soul healthy, perhaps make some transitions, get back to that unfinished project (I have a long overdue scarf to finish), or we will this year at last get our things organized—our lives at last decluttered. Life can be simple. We just need to focus on getting there. And if we have done many times the new calendar hung on the wall, there is a bit of realism sprinkled in as well.
During a spate of decluttering (a project started last year, and interrupted by summer in Lakeside), I was sorting photographs into some sort of manageable categories. Sorting photographs is another love/hate relationship. It’s fun to bring to mind some old memories, old friends, growing family. The category of “dispose of” when it comes to photos is a little problematic. There are ones of people smiling happily for the camera who I have no idea who they are, and whatever was making them so happy. It is obvious that I should have done what my betters suggest is to have made helpful notations on the back. I did find a photo of a much younger couple (Dan and me) standing in the dining room at Idlewyld. I guess it may have been 25 years ago. There we stood, younger, alert, full of energy. “Oh good grief,” I thought, “we have weathered quite a bit.” However, the same “kids” still reside inside these “old wrappings” and we, as I say, continue to “put one foot in front of the other and move forward.”
Writing this letter is always preceded by days, weeks, even months of trying to decide what I want to say—to write about. I always hope for some magical inspiration to insert itself into my mind, and I’d be off and running. This year it seemed impossible. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. And it’s now January, and I’m holed up in my home office with my favorite CD playing. I’m savoring the loveliness of Michael Junior’s young voice singing to me sweetly, and waiting for something to write about. I’m late this year, but working up to the challenge of getting the “stuff” done. Getting letters into the mail, and enjoying that feeling of lightness when the task is complete.
It is here that the subject finally comes into focus. I will write about porches. My porches in particular, and porches in general. Porches give us a sense of community, evoke childhood memories, and present day revelations, and everything and anything in between. Porches are special because they both encourage quiet and relaxation, and are a forum for discussion—open to every subject—jocund to philosophical. As my life progressed, porches were replaced by patios. In my opinion, patios are the poor cousins to porches. They’re nice for having a cookout, and getting a breath of air, but they just don’t have the “bang for the buck” that a porch gives so generously.
I think a house without a porch is missing the best part. I grew up in a house with a rather small, but adequate porch. It was a time before air conditioning, when we were forced outside to breath fresh air, where we would call out to passersby, invite friends to chat and sip ice tea and catch up on the neighbors’ comings and goings. It was there I played “little mommy” with my baby doll Ruth. I rocked her, took her for buggy rides, fed, diapered, changed her clothes, practicing for the real thing years in the future. My babies did not cry and wake me in the night. I had my own private world out there on that porch. It was to that porch that the mailman delivered letters (real handwritten letters) from family and friends, the milkman left bottles of milk, topped with cream that sometimes frozen in the cold winter morning and became ice cream. It was where we sit on summer evenings and watched the fire flies, and sat with fans, and simply relaxed. The porch expanded my world.
Fast forward from childhood to retirement, then, as if ordained, another wonderful and glorious porch entered my life. A wrap-around. A really big porch. Idlewyld’s porch. It wouldn’t be Idlewyld without the porch. On it a group gathers almost daily, family, friends, soon to be friends (same time next year, ok?). I gave the gathering on the porch a name: “The Sitting, Staring, and Rocking Club.” On almost every summer day, someone is sitting there, reading, knitting, relaxing, chatting, playing cards, or perhaps snoozing. It’s been a place of wonder and enchantment, and no doubt some tears have been shed. I hope each one of you will come and “sit and rock a spell” on our porch and “let the world go by.”
AND . . . want to remind you of some wonderful events are coming to Lakeside this summer. Here are a few: Abba, Jack Hanna, Gary Puckett, Chubby Checkers, Cirque Zuma Zuma, Jefferson Starship, Drifters, Riders in the Sky.
In the off-season, Betsy Muller will be back with her wonderful “energy” retreat. The weekend will offer immersion in experiences amidst the energies of Lake Erie and spring growth will provide healing, transformation tools and delightful messages to awaken the senses and life purpose; blending energy psychology and energy medicine practices with shamanic wisdom and creativity.
Claudia Taller will return with two Word Lovers (writers) workshops, spring and fall. Writers at all levels gather to add to their writing skills though writing fiction, memoir, poetry, and creative non-fiction. She also will team with Gail Johnson on the opening weekend of Idlewyld with a retreat geared to good health through yoga practices.
Idlewyld sponsored events are: Sit ‘N Knit or Not in April, and three watercolor workshops (May, September, October). Please check our website for details/contacts/sign-up for any of the special events mentioned above that may be of interest to you.
Note: Please check our Facebook page for some discount weekdays in May-June-August-September. And check all the extra-curricular events pre- and post-season.
And this is it. The 2017 Newsletter brought to you by Dan and Joan. Have a splendid day. And see you soon.