Friday, June 5, 2009

An Ode to Front Porches: Cucumber Agua Fresca

Once upon a time the internet didn't exist, kids pedaled around neighborhoods without protective headgear, and I generated a modest income mowing lawns in Pomona, Kansas. Most of my customers were 70 or older, so after mowing a yard, it was common to be offered a a cold beverage. Often I would decline because I had more work to do, but occasionally I'd accept. Even at a young age, I knew the value of slowing things down, taking a break, and visiting with folks, so I spent a lot afternoons sitting on the front porches of Pomona, KS, drinking lemonade or iced tea (For some reason, I was never offered a can of soda) with senior citizens.

I miss those afternoons.

I miss front porches. As you know, they don't often build new homes with front porches. People like to hide out in their backyards. A lot has changed. Cadillacs are made of fiberglass. New churches don't look like churches. New barns don't look like barns. Trains don't have cabooses. I miss a lot about the past.

I miss those conversations with the senior citizens of Pomona, Kansas.

I live in a town full of beautiful front porches, and when I drive by one, I long to sit.I long for a conversation with the people of my past.
I long to slow down time.

I long for a cold drink.

I long for time on a front porch.

If you dropped by this afternoon, I'd fix you a nice cold drink -- maybe agua fresca -- and we'd slow time down and talk about the stuff that really matters in this life.
Cucumber Agua Fresca

  • 4 1/2 cups coarsely chopped peeled and seeded cucumbers
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 2 cups ice cubes plus more for glasses
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup lime juice
  • 2 large pinches of salt
  1. Combine 2 1/4 cups of the cucumbers, 2 cups water, 1 cup ice cubes, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup lime juice, and 1 pinch of salt in a blender. Blend until sugar dissolves and mixture is smooth but slush.
  2. Pour mixture through a strainer and into a pitcher. Press all of the liquid out of cucumbers in the strainer.
  3. Repeat the above with the remaining ingredients.
  4. Place ice cubes in eight glasses and fill with cucumber drink.
  5. Enjoy on a front porch. This is the perfect quencher for a summer day.

Enjoy the weekend,

PS. . . Be sure to cast a vote for my field trip destination. You have until 10:30 PM on Sunday, June 7th to vote.


muddywaters said...

Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett penned a song titled "The Front Porch Song". I love this song, especially this verse:

This old porch is just a long time of waiting and forgetting
Remembering the coming back and not crying about the leaving
And remembering the falling down and the laughter of the curse of luck
From all those son's of bitches who said we'd never get back up

Anonymous said...

I'm a fan of ye olde agua fresca - I usually make mine with lemon and sparkling water, but it's good no matter how you make it. Love that you use lime here.

One Toothbrush said...

The first little bungalow in your blog, the avacado colored one, is my niece's old house. Her husband is a potter and he did all the tile work on their front steps and he also made the number sign on the porch. The Ramirez's had a lot of parties at that house. I've spent many an hour on that WONDERFUL little porch!

Anonymous said...

one of the things i liked about our neighborhood, i thought, was that every house had a front porch. but that was until everyone moved in and we tried to put chairs out there. all they needed was about six more inches of concrete to make it usable, but square footage on the porch is square footage missing from the interior, and it's the interior that determines a home's "value," according to the "experts."

another thing to miss: kids on bikes slinging the local newspaper before they go to school. now, if you're lucky enough to have a local newspaper, some guy in a minivan drives by and chucks in in the general direction of your front yard.

muddywaters said...

Haleysuzzane: Here in a couple of weeks, we're trying a watermelon agua fresca.

One Toothbrush: Cool! It's a small world. I drove around and looked at a lot of porches, and I was drawn to this one. I guess, that's a testament to the artistry they put into this porch.

12th Man: I miss metal-tipped lawn darts.