For those of you who have never been, may I recommend a trip to Toledo’s Old West End? It is a neighborhood full of beautiful old homes built in the late 1800s, and most every home has a huge covered porch with plenty of places to sit and swing.
Back then, if you wanted to text your neighbor, you would just holler in the general direction of their porch and say, “Hey Henry, how about those Mud Hens?” All of social media was handled by sitting on a porch railing and talking to the neighbor on the next porch or inviting someone walking by to sit a spell.
A few months back in the cold of winter, I said to the wife as I looked at a newspaper article about the Old West End, “I am coveting right now. I know it’s not right, but I am coveting really hard.”
“Well,” the wife said, “isn’t that nice…”
“Don’t you want to know what I’m coveting about?”
“Not really. You just covet away, and I’ll try not to bother you.”
Showing her a picture of a gathering of neighbors on the front porch of a gorgeous mansion, I said, “I long for times like this, where people talk face to face without using their thumbs. I want that. I want a porch.”
“Oh that’s so cute,” the wife texted me with her thumbs. “But our house will not accommodate a porch because of its salt box architecture.”
“Stop texting me!!” I shouted. “I want a place for a porch swing, a place with chairs and tables, a place where when neighbors walk by, they will feel welcome to come and sit a spell.”
Walking over to me and stroking my hair, the wife said, “That’s what I love about you, dear, you’re an old soul. If you can figure out a way to create such a place, I’m all for it.” She walked out of the room, leaving me to covet some more.
Agreeing with the wife that the architecture of our home would not accommodate a porch, I went to the computer and searched for “detached porch.” The word pavilion came up.
So I asked, “What is a pavilion?”
The answer: “Origin French, meaning an open structure that invites people to come and eat a croissant and talk about the Mud Hens.”
“Honey!” I yelled to the wife upstairs, “I’ve got the answer to my porch dilemma!”
“Are you still coveting?” she texted. “Because I’m painting my toenails, and I can’t come downstairs.”
“Stop texting me!!” I said. “We are going to build a pavilion!”
“That’s nice, dear!” she yelled back. “Way to covet!”
And that’s exactly what we did. We contracted a wonderful Amish company to have a beautiful 10-feet by 10-feet pavilion built in our backyard, where we can have a porch swing, chairs and tables, and where neighbors will feel welcome.
“Come on in and sit a spell,” we yell from our pavilion. Most neighbors do. And we talk face to face without using our thumbs. What a concept. Sometimes it pays to do a little coveting.
Raul Asunce is an occasional columnist for the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune, a sister paper of The Lima News.