I might not be a fan of the outdoors, but I do love porches.

They’re usually protected from bugs, have access to electricity and plumbing, and hold an aura that inspires good conversation and laughter. All of that works for me.

My Aunt Mary had one that she called her “Gin and Tonic porch.” You knew you’d have fun, and you knew what she’d serve.

We have friends who have summer homes in Michigan. Such wonderful memories were made on those porches, from the first cup of coffee (or three) in the morning to the last Hummer (or four) at night.

A porch that stays in my mind was in Dayton, Ohio. A big porch, screened-in with comfortable furniture, surrounded by oak trees, it was an after-dinner haven for conversation and laughter.

One of the things we did on that porch was to plan our futures – far, far in the future, when we might not be self-sufficient and might need to live communally. We were young and the idea of a retirement home was fodder for silliness and laughter.

We designed our ideal residence but more importantly, we attributed roles to each of the inhabitants. They would be us, of course, and only us. We pooled our talents, and skills and mapped out a very doable, self-sustained retirement home.

We had a carpenter, a gardener, a cook, an accountant, a plumber, a choir leader, a spiritual guide, a party planner, a lawyer, several doctors. Everyone had a role; everyone was needed.

Of course, it never happened. It should have, but it didn’t. We knew it wouldn’t, but it didn’t stop us from dreaming.

To this day, I think of all that, the friends who would be there and the fun we’d have.

There was one little hitch. No one could come up with a job for me. Happily, they all agreed that I could just be there.

Oh, if only I could.

Sallie Collins enjoys living on the banks of the May River and writes about it in her blog, www.LifeOnTheMay.com, from which this article is taken.