The Verandah
by Jim Low
Copyright 1996

My children grew up in the blink of an eye as I sat on the verandah.  They were busy on the lawn and street in front of my verandah engaged in the truly important things of life: skipping rope, riding tricycles, playing ball or street hockey, and engaged in voiceful expressions of joy and happiness with their many friends.

The lawn in front of my verandah is the worst looking on the block.  You can have a nice lawn or children, but not both.  I neglected the lawn and welcomed the children.  It became known in my neighbourhood that the lawn in front of my verandah was open to all.  Oh, sometimes I gave out a hurrumph when my flowers were picked or a ball went flying through the front window.  But I always welcomed them back when I calmed down—usually about an hour later.

For a quarter century, I watched and guided my four children from the verandah.  Three have grown and moved to their own homes.  My youngest, while still at home, turned eighteen this year and officially became an adult.  But I still sit on my verandah and watch as he and his friends (known locally as “The Gang”) socialise on the front lawn every evening.  I continue to let out the occasional hurrumph over the litter and late night noise, but they continue to return.  For some reason, they can’t find a better place to hang out.

Soon, the last of my children will leave.  Will I then have a nice lawn?  Not likely.  You see, there is another generation growing up in my neighbourhood.  Already, they have developed a habit of showing up in front of my verandah.

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