ALL ABOARD | A porch! A porch! My kingdom for a porch!

Last week’s dog and house sitting for friends way up there in Greenbank reminded me that a porch is a much better place for reflecting than a bathroom mirror.

At least at my age.

This is a big month for my age.

A really big month.

The month that secures my Social Security number to the subcutaneous holdings at Fort Knox.

Can you say federal allowance?

Remember when your folks gave you an allowance, whether you mowed the yard, shoveled snow or washed the dishes?

Our folks were quite constitutional in allowing equal opportunity for all three of us kids.

Two bucks a head, no matter how big our head was.

Payday was Saturday, usually in Dad’s company car, driven by Mom without Dad’s knowledge or permission.

Every payday Saturday, Mom and I would be on our way in Dad’s Chrysler to the Lane Shopping Center in Upper Arlington, Ohio, a Columbus suburb.

First stop was the bookstore, which was conveniently located next to one of Mom’s favorite 36 shoe stores.

While I was anxiously deciding which Hardy Boys book to buy, Mother would be next door entertaining shoe salesmen with her Mississippi accent and cotton pickin’ 4-double-A shoe size.

Try and find those puppies at a Midwestern mall.

Should I get “Footprints Under the Window” or “While The Clock Ticked”?

Would Mom be much longer so I could sneak some peeks at the New Yorker cartoons?

A new Hardy Boys book, with a colorful dust jacket intact, was a dollar and three cents with tax.

That left enough for a two-foot-long, 10-cent bag of popcorn at Murphys, located at the other end of the mall, as well as enough for a 25-cent burger, 10-cent French fries and a dime for a cherry Coke at the drugstore next door.

I believe the drugstore was Nicklaus Pharmacy. Golf legend Jack’s dad was the pharmacist.

And, no, Golden Bear Jack was never on steroids supplied by the old man.

Like all of us Arlington kids, young Jack beefed up naturally at White Castle and Frisch’s Big Boy, both down the street, on or near Northwest Boulevard.

Why am I giving you directions when you can use Google Earth?

Last week’s reflections on our friend’s Greenbank porch reminded me to remind myself of these three reminders:

1. Take time for the moment. It is much more than just another moment.

2. Take time for no time to know time like you have never known time before.

3. Time after time, be thankful for all time.

When we were kids running through the sprinklers on a hot summer’s day, our parents would sit on the porch, drinking ice-cold adult beverages, laughing and telling stories.

We just knew our parents were nuts to be missing out on all the fun that we were having.

Sit on the porch?

Excuse me, but where is that Absolut tonic with lime?

Jim Freeman, Whidbey’s Conductor of Fun, can be reached at

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