This morning I went out to get the paper and was struck by how plain our front porch looked - barren, even. But why? There was the porch swing, the horseshoe chair... and then I realized: my flowerpots were gone.
I peeked around the corner -- still two cars in the driveway. Hmm. I was hit by a moment of deja vu. Two years ago, also on a Sunday morning, I'd stepped out to find Will's car gone although he was most definitely at home, mummified by layers of sheets and blankets. I'd interrupted his sleep to ask him, casually, "Did you park somewhere different last night?"
He'd rolled over, instantly awake. "WHAT?"
Today, I wiped my feet on the mat, calmly walked down the hall, and located Will beneath tufts of the comforter. "Um, hey, Will... did you move anything off the porch last night? Maybe because of the rain?"
He rolled over and groaned. Not again.
He pulled on clothes and we stood together on the porch, which was decidedly bare at second glance, and I allowed myself a few minutes to morn the loss of my flower pots.
Not that they contained actual flowers (or any plants really; I lack the commitment and responsibility needed to keep either alive). But they had beautiful, filigreed metal stands and last spring, in a spurt of renovation fever, I painted the terra cotta pots a glossy shade of chocolate brown, then sponge-painted over them in black so they looked antigue and, well, cool. Martha Stewart, eat your heart out. Then I "planted" them with willow branches in a mixture of potting soil and landscape bark. They were beautiful; they made me happy every time I stepped onto my porch -- happier, I was suddenly convinced, than a car could ever make me.
Inside, Will and I studied Baxter gravely. How could a dog with a ferocious howl that alerts us to everything else in the neighborhood (passing cats, neighbors watering their lawns) and sleeps a mere five feet from the front porch have missed this entire occasion? Perhaps out of guilt, Baxter declined his morning scoop of food.
Later, I went online to fill out a police report. THESE REPORTS ARE NOT INVESTIGATED, a pop-up window reminded me.
No problem. I don't expect a manhunt or anything.
I just want it on record for when I spot the planters on someone else's porch, park my SUV down the street in modern Nancy Drew fashion, and insist to the police dispatcher that I've got the "perps" in my "sights".
Paula Treick DeBoard