Friday, June 27, 2008

The Gazebo







I love my yard, or as it was called in England, my garden. We have so much planted, areas laid out with broad swathes of color and texture that I think we can call the whole affair a garden and easily get by with it. I call our place Orchard Cottage, which is what our home in England was named, because of all the fruit trees and bushes that surround us here as it did there. Our place is not large, but cozy and very comfortable for the two of us and room for guests when they arrive. The front porch is large and shaded with hanging pots of broad leaf moss roses (Portulaca) petunias of every hue, mostly double and rose bushes all around. There's a Mandavillia vine curling it's way over the porch rail and a volunteer cantaloupe twining it's way alongside. There are cats sleeping on the porch rail, escaping the heat of the day, their sweet faces turned toward the front door in hopes someone will come out and sit with them. Looking over to the front drive the other day, Mac allowed as how a Gazebo would look fine up there, inviting us within it's cool depths on the way back from the mailbox. I had to laugh, he who is always accusing me of "having visions", was apparently having a few visions of his own. I told him I didn't think I wanted a Gazebo, though the idea was nice. He looked at me for a second, reached out and touched my face and smiled and said "Chesterfield's Gazebo get you spooked?" and suddenly laughed one of those laughs that only a man can manage, head thrown back, bellows of sound erupting like silly thunder. I nodded, oh yes...Chesterfield's Gazebo....

Chesterfield is such an amazing little town, the County Seat, only one street long with shops on either side, a bank at the corner by the Courthouse, the Western Auto Appliance Store directly across from the brick edifice we call the Courthouse...the old Courthouse, which is at the other end of the street actually looks like what it is. It has charm and character and stories to tell...but a couple of decades ago someone got it into their heads that building a new Courthouse and making it look like some large brick box with a flat roof might make Chesterfield seem an up and coming thriving town. So we have this nondescript brick building we call the courthouse, across the street is the Western Auto and next to the Western Auto a small grassy area that held...nothing. So the Town Council agreed to erect a lovely little Gazebo there, a place where perhaps lunches could be taken, or just a place to sit and rest and talk with friends. It was a wonderful concept.

Now, Chesterfield is a small town, as I have said. But we have more than our share of, for lack of a more politically correct word, town drunks. This is no Mayberry where Otis comes in and takes the key off the wall and opens the door, locks himself in and goes off to sleep. While we have our share of those who go peacefully down the hall to the cell block, and even those who had family members drive their beloved drunk family member to the jail and unceremoniously boot them out the door into our loving arms, for the most part our drunks don't want to be locked up. They want to drink. They want to drink in peace and quiet. And one night they stumbled upon this lovely gingerbread construction, sort of an open air drinking spot...and they thought, (I can hear strains of "there's a plaaace for us...right here a place for us...") why how thoughtful. The town has erected us a gathering place. No more will we have to hide out in the back lots looking for concrete block upon which to rest our weary drunken bones. And a trash receptacle...don't know what that's for, bottles and cans belong littered upon the ground to prove that we were here...I was on my way home from work one night and saw my cousin (who was a town cop) sitting in her patrol car, parked where she had a clear view of the Gazebo. I pulled in next to her, my drivers side window next to her drivers side window (when you see cops parked like this along the highway, they're not trying to set the radar to work both ways...it already does that in one car alone...they're chatting...comparing calls, catching up on what's been going on) and asked her what was up. She had her reading glasses on and pushed them up on top of her head and laid the crossword puzzle book down on her lap. "We've been getting complaints that the Gazebo has turned into a gathering spot for every drunk in the county...so far I count four...I looked over at where she indicated and named two "frequent flyers" from my own experience. I asked her what she was going to do. "Just waiting for them to get drunk enough to forget I'm here and start passing that bottle around...and they'll pass it around, believe me. Then that's when I'll go get them and take them off to the jail." We sat and talked for a couple of minutes and then it happened...happy hour in the Gazebo...she picked up her radio and called the jail. She told them she was about to be 10-67 four times and to meet her under the Sally port. This was a scene that was repeated every day. Sometimes several times a day...there were male and female drunks and the worst of them were the females. I'd rather have dealt with a drunk man than a drunk woman any time of the day. I don't remember how long the Gazebo stood on the little corner lot that was intended to be a park of sorts, but it wasn't long. Perhaps two years, maybe three. But the Council in all its wisdom deemed the Gazebo no longer a part of the beautification of Chesterfield, but an eyesore. And so they tore the little Gazebo down...nothing there now but sand and small tufts of Dallas grass. A few rocks to get stuck in the soles of your shoe if you walk that way towards the Western Auto. The drunks are now relegated out of sight mostly to the back lots, going to the red dot store (ABC Store, Liquor Store whatever you call it in your neck of the woods) and scurrying quickly away so that the Cops can't interfere with what they do best. And so as I stand gazing up towards the front drive where Mac was envisioning a Gazebo, I hear the words in my head just as they came in "Field of Dreams"...build it and they will come...". A chill went straight through me. I shook it off and muttered under my breath "oh no, not only no but HELL NO!"

49 comments:

San said...

Beautifully written, Sandi. The description of your lovely garden and front porch with those sweet cats. And the story of the Chesterfield Gazebo. Why weren't the drunks relegated to the nondescript brick building? That would have been more fitting. Too bad about the demise of the little gingerbread structure.

And the women were the worst offenders? Sad.

Kari (GrannySkywalker) said...

Hmph. Wish you'd written this sooner. I might have checked out OUR town's gazebo to see if that's where our A/C repair guy was hanging out all week (he sure wasn't hanging out at my house, working to fix the air!).

smilnsigh said...

LOL! Grrrrrrrrrrreat story!!!

Mari-Nanci
Smilnsigh blog

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Well shoot, Sugar. I think a gazebo is a mighty fine piece of architecture, but I can see why you think of it as something else entirely. Fun story!

Sandpiper (Lin) said...

What a great story! Too bad about the gazebo. We have a pretty little gazebo on a green in our town, and I've never seen a single person on that green or sitting in the gazebo. It sits there lifeless and empty.
Thanks for visiting my blog today and for your nice comment.

justabeachkat said...

Great post. I love your writing style...you make me feel as if I can "see" it all.

Hugs sweet friend!
Kat

Judy said...

I think your place is just perfect without a gazebo!

What is a mandevillia vine? Your front porch sounds like my kind of place.

david mcmahon said...

Beautiful post, Sandi

I'll come round and give Mac a hand.

Deal?

Tara said...

Sandi

Cute story...but if your house is a little out of town, maybe it'd be safe?? Hee-hee!

Akelamalu said...

What a great story and your garden (yard) sounds beautiful!

Love Bears All Things said...

This is a great story, Sandi. I enjoyed reading it. I would have thought a few arrests would have deterred the gazebo parties but I guess not. A shame that the gazebo came down.
Thanks for your visits and comments this week.
Mama Bear

dabrah said...

I love the way you write, it's so descriptive and witty, but the story left me feeling little sad.

I came looking for orange and didn't find it.

Lib said...

Hi Sansi,
Lol Never a dull moment when having to deal with drunks huh?

Your garden sounds Beautiful!:o)
Have a wonderful wk.end!
Blessins',Lib

Jeanne said...

I can see your yard and porch with the kitties in my mind from your perfect description. Had to laugh at your reaction to the gazebo. Too bad about that town one being ruined, they do look so pretty.

Blossomcottage said...

What a lovely blog site and I enjoyed the trip around the garden, this is my first visit but you are clearly are a very accumplished blogger ( thats not how you spell it but the wine has just kicked in and I can't be bothered to check!) all those awards bet you were Head Girl at skool.
Love Blossom

windycorner said...

The town fathers and their wisdom...it never fails, does it? The little town my parents live near has had similar happenings. First they tore down the beautiful old courthouse and built soemthing that looks like a 60's doctor's office. Most recently they pulled down all the giant oak trees on the courthouse square (which had been mercifully hiding the ugly building) and put up walkways and, you guessed it, a gazebo. Wonder if it gets the same kind of visitors as Chesterfield's.
Holley

Donna said...

Wonderful story Sandi!! Mayberry Indeedy!!LOL...What a job, having to do that Every night!!! And I hear you want to join in the next Brenda Photo Challenge?!! GREAT! I'll add your name to my list so I can come see your pics!! Happy night sweetie!hughugs

Veggie Mom said...

Hi! I'm new to the Blogosphere, and I found your site thru another link. Interesting stuff here! I'm running a giveaway, and I'd love it if you'd stop by. http://poprs.blogspot.com/2008/06/giveaway-tuesday.html Drop in any time! :)

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

Wonderful story telling miss Sandi!
Hugs,
Penny
p.s. you can come visit me anytime you want! i would love to meet you in person!

Veggie Mom said...

Sandi: Thanks for the plant-growing tips! I really have more of a "brown thumb" than a "green" one. Please drop in again--and don't forget my giveaway!

ancient one said...

Ha ha... I know what you are talking about... why do all the creeps hang out at the park... that's where our policemen wait for the drug deals to go down ...they take over the public areas so quickly..

Your garden sounds pretty.. my gazebo would have to be in the back yard... (which I don't have)

I love the way you write!

Cookie said...

Oh, Your Miss Daisy reminds me of OUR Einstein! I have a photo of him on my site. We lost him about three years ago. OES are the most wonderful creatures on the planet. I love your picture of Miss Daisy. How beautiful!

Cookie

Adla said...

Hi Sandi,

Thanks for the shout out, you are so sweet. I am doing great just moved and didn't have internet connection for awhile, My blog deserves an update for sure, will get to it I promise :)

what an interesting story of the Gazebo, I would say No too to an accessible gazebo for the drunkard sort to loiter around. Call it Gazebo Phobia!

will chat soon, Hope you are great too :)
Adla

Mima said...

Really love the gazebo story, and I'm not surprised at all that you don't want one of those in your beautiful garden. For me a yard will always be a barren empty space, and a garden is full of lovingly tended plants, so yours is a garden for sure!

Jamie Dawn said...

I'm sure YOUR gazebo would not be a magnet for drunkards to lounge and booze it up. The cats might take it over though.
I can just picture the Chesterfield Gazebo as I read this story. Too bad it had to be taken down.
Your front porch sounds like a divine place of comfort and relaxation.

PAT said...

I saw this story unfold before my eyes. Great writing! Great post!

Have a wonderful week, Sandi!

Pat

MarmiteToasty said...

I came and I was not disappointed :).... what a lovely post... and yours certain sounds like a garden and not some yard with jacked up cars LOL thats what my head says when people say 'yard'....

Fanks for popping over to Twaddle....

x

Lehners in France said...

Sandi, what a truly lovely post. Maybe we can all share a virtual sun downer in your Gazebo one night! Debs x

Lee said...

Sandi, I love this post. And I totally understand why you might not want a gazebo after seeing that kind of thing. However, in the interests of keeping cool in the summer heat, I've got an alternative suggestion. How about a glade w/ hanging chairs? Surely you have a spreading mature tree on your place and could hang some of these from its limbs. I kid you not when I say, "These are the absolute best thing to sit in that I've ever found!" Tried them out a couple of times at a Renaissance fair and just could not stop sitting and swinging in them. It was that much fun! Ended up buying two for the front porch. I'll do it again if I ever get a place that can handle it. Oh, and hanging tables and footrests to accompany the chairs are also available.

Hugs, wanting you cool in the shade!
Lee

Mae said...

Nice post....the term ABC store, I hadn't heard in many years. That what they called liquor store in my nake of the woods. I been tagged and I decided to share it with you.

Kathryn said...

What a great post! You writing is wonderful!
Thanks for stopping by my blog. :)

Country Cottage Chic said...

I do love your stories Sandi!

Suldog said...

Fascinating post, Sandi. Around here (Boston) they are called "packies" (short for "Package Store", so far as I know the only area of the world that calls them that.)

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Sandi, Can't you do us all a favor and post photos of your front porch. It sounds divine. When I ran the tennis pro shop at the club the neighborhood teens loved to use the gazebo by the courts as their summer night hang out spot for drinking their cheap beer. I had no problems with that but what I did have a problem with was, when they had too much to drink they would throw the empty bottles on the hard courts. When I would arrive in the morning there would be broken glass everywhere....that burned me up.

Pam said...

What a funny story about the gazebo. That's sad that it had to be torn down though. Are they not going to do anything to replace it or do they just fear that it'll attract the same riff-raff? I don't blame them if that was the case...therefore you resoning for not having your own. haha!

I can just see the cats been all lazy on your porch on a hot summer day. Sounds quite cozy to me.

Jeanne said...

RYC Sandi: Haven't started "Time Travelers Wife" yet but I've heard good and bad. My daughter has first dibs on it since I have a few others I'm working on right now so I'll let you know what we think.

Abbie said...

lol, Aunt Sandie and your wild imagination. I like how you expressively went "hell no"!! lol
But I am comforted by the fact that the officers are just chatting and not conspiring, I don't speed, but that little fact is good to know.

Hairline Fracture said...

Great story! I don't blame you for not wanting a gazebo, with those mental associations.

joan said...

Great story Sandi and really if you ever write a book I am going to buy it because you sure know how to tell a story. I can jsut picture it all the way you tell it. Hope you are feeling good this week.

CrazyCath said...

Excellent stuff Sandi!
I can *so* get why you would say no. Some images are burned on our minds for eternity.
Great story.

Mary Isabella said...

Love the story. I Love bread and butter pickles. I never thought of using them in my potato salad. So after I read your comment I went to the store and bought a jar to use in my potato salad Wednesday. Our daughter and her 3 children can not come on the 4th so we are cooking hotdogs, potatosalad, baked beans and smores . Lots of Hugs...Mary

Lin said...

You've just re-inspired me to keep dreaming of a porch just like yours some day. Uhm ... but maybe not a gazebo, unless I can arrange for a trap door to flush away unwelcome guests.

Sandy Kessler said...

I see you there amidst the flowers - happy , fairly serene. Your choices are stellar for awards especially Lehners in FRANCE IS IT .. HILARIOUS I SPEAK fRENCH SO HOPE TO HEAR SOME jOIE DE VIVRE SANDY IBEATI

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

Oh dear...what a shame that the gazebo had to be torn down...and what a shame that it was used for that purpose by the town drunks....

One likes to think that beautiful architecture, and gardens, bring out the best in the human spirit. Unfortunately that is not always so. Thank you for posting this interesting story...

Kari & Kijsa said...

Great story...sorry it didn't work out with the gazebo...but your garden is beautiful!

Have a blessed and wonderful day!

smiles, kari & kijsa

holly said...

i love gazebos!!! too bad about the town one. they should have built something for the drunks to go to instead.

like a ditch. yes, build a ditch for the drunkards.

clearly it's past my bedtime.

janie said...

I read this post as we are (in our county)just building a lovely little gazebo on the courthouse grounds. This, because the wonderful, majestic old courthouse was torn down in the 1950s and replaced with a square, flat-topped 'modern' building that is ugly as sin. We have been trying to make amends ever since the neighboring counties had their OLD, BEAUTIFUL courthouses re-furbished, rubbing our noses in it, so to speak.

I do hope I never see or hear of a drunk in our gazebo. Our County Judge wants to marry people there, and how many people are going to want to get married in the drunk's party place.

One thing about it, our gazebo shares a common space with our sheriff's department. I bet not many will party there.

Nice story. I enjoyed reading it, and I need to look to see where you are. We share many of the same plants in our gardens.

AND, we used to live in England!

I think I know you!

Janie

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