My front porch is for company, the back porch for me. It’s my take-five spot, a compact stoop just barely big enough for a big guy and two big bulldogs. The paint-deprived rail supports an arm’s reach and everything from a cup of coffee to a cordial to a tumbler of ice tea. In the morning, I watch the robins scratch for breakfast, and the marine layer burn off. At night, I greet the Big Dipper, and ask the stars for favors and the heavens for guidance. Pond frogs interrupt, dancing headlights and barking dogs join their cause. When clear nights prevail, the Big Dipper dazzles without fail.
As fine a view as my porch provides, the vantage point just improved thanks to a new tree in the garden. Planted under the North Star and the Big Dipper, the dogwood was a gift from my friend Mary Ann, who wished to honor my father’s memory in this special way.
On our nursery field trip to find the perfect tree, we perused a neat forest of potted beauties, but nothing really struck us (except a couple of low branches). We repeated our stroll, and were set to leave empty handed when we spied a handsome specimen in a missed corner.
Looking at the tag, I had to laugh; it read Cloud 9. At first I joked, divine intervention. Upon closer inspection, a second label confirmed my supposition and quelled my flippancy; it read half price. Yep for my Dad, a man who appreciated value and thrift, this was a match made in heaven.