Closing up shop
- Wednesday, Aug. 02, 2006

It may be time for a change
- Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Entry in the air
- Friday, April 21, 2006

Still here
- Thursday, April 20, 2006

Music of the moment
- Wednesday, March 1, 2006



101 in 1001
American Road Trip, 1998


Dancing Brave
Fugging It Up
Kitty Sandwich
Mister Zero
Sideways Rain


My crew
Our host

2001-05-11 - 9:04 p.m.

Porch party

We sat on the porch yesterday evening, a modest house at the corner of 13th and L in Belmar. Six guys on the porch in the waning light, the quiet approach of night, drinking beer and talking baseball.

Cars drove by, approaching the stop sign where the roads meet in a "T," pausing at the line before making their turns: right to head north to Route 35 along the Shark River, both visible up the street; left to go south toward 16th and the heart of Belmar.

"A bit of congestion at 13th and L," said Dave, the man who owned the house with the wrap-around porch. Our host at the porch party.

Neighbors walked by and said hello, cops cruised the streets, offering waves and greetings.

"You don't see that much anymore," said the guy everyone called "Boomer," a moniker earned from his job as a minor league mascot. "Where everybody knows everyone in the neighborhood."

I sat there, besieged by allergies and I didn't care. Cold beer, good conversation, making new friends. The cars came by and we made jokes about the vehicles, about the drivers. One neighbor walked along the sidewalk and Dave invited him up, into the throng of strangers. It's the kind of neighborhood I would've loved to have grown up in. It's what I wish my front porch could be like. But my house has more room, a bigger yard between the neighbors and me. The street is a more popular thoroughfare; the cars drive by faster, the stop sign is two houses down. The speed limit is 35, not 25. The Women's Club meets across the street; instead of neighbors on the other side of Church Street, I have a parking lot.

I could have sat there all night. The porch party could have progressed no further than sitting in those chairs, leaning on that railing, and it would've been one of the best nights of the summer. It would've been a warm, friendly, enjoyable May night with nothing more than a small crowd enthralled in converstation.

It would've been perfect that way.

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