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Tonk: Ode to Porches

An Ode to Porches

By Tonk (lurker)

Often lost in the general discussion of global warming and the pending mass extinction of all manner of species is the imminent loss of the common porch. You may cry No! But when was the last time you saw a new house with a screen porch. When! The porches are vanishing. You may say never in America. But it is happening. It is going the way of the soda fountain and the drive-in movie.

And it is happening here and now. Look at the McMansions springing up around the beltway and in the outer burbs. Nary a shaded veranda to be seen. And the rows of townhomes from Dunn Loring to Dundalk, nothing but
decks, deck, decks, that unseemly structural appendage from California that fries the brain already parboiled from the hot tub.

Already our children look upon porches as a quaint anachronism from a time when people went out on social calls, leaving cards in silver salvers, and then -- 'gasp' -- conversing. They sit benumbed, transfixed in front of a
glowing tube, twitching their thumbs spasmodically to the clangor from the buds in their ears as the AC drones on. They know not of creak of the rocking chair in time with click of knitting needles as the dirt is dished.
They don't smell the new-mown lawn, tinged with grilled hotdogs or Old Bay boiled crabs. They do not hear the tall tales or the low-down blaggardly lies that come when the highball glasses ice cube's clink. And they miss
the hiss of rain from summer storms and the white light bang of thunder.

It is so sad.

So it is up to the boodlers to unite and call for more porches for America. Take umbrage against the deck-dwelling, sun-glass wearing, Coppertone-stinking poltroons who foist this so-called 'O.C.' lifestyle upon us. Do
not listen to whining about deadly Nile-virus-bearing mosquitoes or fetid swamp dankness that pervades the area. Whining did not make America great, Porches made America great. Ask your elected representatives where they
stand on porches and do not take a soapbox for an answer. Better yet, build your own (martooni has the plans). If the boodlers work together, one day soon, they can look around and see, from cloistered courtyard to
jalousied galleries, from latticed loggia to humble stoop, a rebirth of porches in America. And a rebirth of America in porches.


By Joel Achenbach  |  July 28, 2006; 6:28 AM ET
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