Tuesday, November 24, 2009


When I was 21, I left the desert west (my home) and wore a dress for 18 months straight for the Lord. I was a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in hot, jungly, muggly Florida. When I read "Florida" was to be my intended Zion, the only image I had in my mind was Southern California (the western equivalent right?). I imagined beach bums, bleached joggers, health nuts, and short shorts. What I soon learned was that Florida, at least northern Florida, was not reminiscent of any Beach Boys tunes. It was technically "The South". As in Live Oak Trees with their own gravitational pull with their pretend branches in reality tree trunks glued sideways into its totem. Spanish Moss drips from their limbs like the syrupy southern accents oozing off the tongues of Southern Belles, Baptists, Evangelists, Racists, Pentecostals, and barbecue-ers.

Oh and I loved it.

While I wanted to go "foreign" as they say (meaning: send me to an exotic country that will force me to learn another language and build in 15 language credits when I come back to college) I soon reveled in another planet with plantation homes, invitations for fried chicken and church revivals, prayers in parking lots and speaking in tongues. And much of this revolved around porches. Rockers on porches, plants in pretty pots, sweeping views of Live Oak, and outdoor rooms screened in complete with beds for summer sleep-outs safe from biting bugs but in tune with the crickets.

Mrs. Olsen loves porches. Like this one:

My current porch is nothing like this. Darnit. But I will admit, in my own small efforts, I like to add a little piece of furniture to make my lame non-wrap-around porch feel like a room.

This little piece with wings was reclaimed by the newlywed Mrs. Olsen. Childless and optimistic, she scraped five layers of paint off of it, put on a mosaic top, and painted it the official wedding reception color of the 90's: forest green.

Since some of the tile is green, I could have pulled it off alright were it not for those cheesy oversized wood knobs. I didn't even have forest green at my 90's wedding, but evidently it rubbed off on me. At least I don't have forest green carpet.

As luck would have it, it matches my porch railing to my home. Coincidentally, my home was built one year before I was married. Come and sit for a spell.

Somehow a porch, even when you don't sit for a spell, makes the front door more friendly and appealing.

Here we come, straight for the door. Gotta hurry. No time for chat. Gotta get back ho...ho...hold the phone!

Yes that's a goose. And now my invitation: please love me.

I'm thirty-four people. And yes, I bought this resin goose from an old ladies catalog. I was alone late at night at a computer, and I had just had a baby. My hormones were whack, and I wanted to celebrate the holidays without having to lug around an oversized rubbermaid for every holiday.

Somehow, nothing says porch love like a goose. Above is Gwendolyn in her Halloween attire. Below is how you can behold her current glory.

This I know: resin geese with clothes are for grannies.

And yet, as a testament to my eternal love of porches, my unmet desires for slower living, lazy chatting, and outdoor living, Gwendolyn remains...despite a broken leg twice (and mended), chipped tummy, and cracking paint.


Jake said...

Bringing back memories there with the florida porches. I had a companion put it this way: when I recieved my call visions of Miami Vice filled my head, but when I arrived at Jacksonville those visions were quickly replaced with Hee-Haw.

Tara said...

I am excited to see what Gwendolyn's outfit is for Christmas!

jennaloha said...

I'm betting Gwendolyn wished she could flee to Bok Bok Cottage when you butchered your turkeys. She'll never be able to trust you at all after that massacre.

Tami said...

Gwendolyn is quite the looker! I love the attire! Cute porch too!

LGH said...

Amber, I hope someday I can come and sit on your delightful porch and meet Gwendolyn.

paula said...

I would love to come sit on your porch and chat. Maybe we could discuss Gwendolyn's next outfit. Give me her measurements sister and I'll whip something up for her.

Mrs. Olsen said...

Jake...well said with the Florida quote. Made me laugh.

Anyone and everyone, come on over for a chat and we'll rock and drink lemonade.

P.S. Paula, would you really make Gwendolyn a new outfit? That would be so cool!

paula said...

I'm serious about the new outfit. Really.

Lee Family said...

ha ha ha
Do you also have a curio cabinet of precious moments dolls?
ha ha ha
and a Christmas sweater adorned with snowflakes, wreaths, and candy canes?
ha ha ha
i am just as funny as you are.