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Thursday, July 23, 2015


The forever flower hunter here, last summer I spied a magnolia tree that I hadn’t noticed before and its grandeur left me breathless. Problem was that I had no idea who owned the tree or the house but I did know the next door neighbors. “Ah I thought to myself. I’ll ask them about the magnolia tree.” And I did and much to my surprise I found out that I did know the owners of the tree and house in a way as I had taught their granddaughter in school. Then another problem was that I had never met them or so I thought.

Being brave, I again asked my friends that lived next door if one of them would go with me to that house. “Of course I will” replied Sharon and she went along with me. My eyes were on the magnolia tree until I ascended the stairs that led to a huge front porch for the floor was painted an azure blue. I then saw wonderful porch furniture, a swing and my eyes went up to the magnificent beaded ceiling. It was love at first sight.

My friend Sharon rang the doorbell and a man stepped out: She introduced me to him and of course I knew his last name. Mentioned that I had taught his granddaughter in the second grade, knew her brother and her parents. “Have a seat” he told us. Why he might as well have said “Close your eyes and you’ll be near the beach.” That’s exactly how it felt. I felt far away as if in a dream and the overpowering scent of the magnolia blossoms put me in a trance.

“And you were saying?” he asked me. It took me a while to come out of my dream state and I felt ashamed that I had ignored him. “Oh, I was wondering if it would be all right if I picked a few magnolia blossoms.” “Why you can pick as many as you want if you can reach them” speaking this as he noticed my long arms. “I can help you or Sharon and I can help out.” “Thank you ever so much” I replied.

But it wasn’t the magnolia blossoms that I now lusted after—it was his front porch or maybe a combination of both. At this point, his wife came outside and chatted: She was lovely and we had a conversation about not only her granddaughter but her grandson for I knew all three. The day was hot and within several minutes, she retreated back inside as did her husband leaving my friend and me on that glorious porch.

“I could stay here forever” I told Sharon. “Seriously?” she asked me. “Seriously! It’s nirvana.” And it was for that brief period of time.

This past summer I found myself again on that glorious front porch sitting with the male owner and dreaming of times of long ago. There was no way I wanted to leave but to both him and his wife, I was really a semi-stranger.  I didn’t want to appear as a lurker or someone who frequents front porches of people not known well but I think that the owners could sense that I was genuine—or at least hoped so.

The magnolia blossoms are fading but the front porch stays the same: I pass the house and lust at that porch. And within several days, I will once again be a visitor for it is a place of solace and dreams. What more could one ask for?

Sherry Hill

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Sherry Hill

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