Riding the South

The blog of Scott and Jenny Morris

By Scott Morris

As bad as I hate to admit it, we are transitioning into patio people.

Every house in which we have lived — and there have been plenty of them — featured a backyard deck or patio. They were all blank slates harboring great potential, begging to be beautified and used for rest and relaxation.

But we have always squandered the aesthetics of these places and used them to store barbecue grills, bicycles and a collection of junk that spilled over from a household that numbered up to eight.

And, in truth, I was always the restless sort who struggled to sit in one spot for more than a few minutes. Classroom desks, church pews, concert seats and patio furniture were objects of torture. Soon, I would disintegrate into a fidgety mess.

But age seems to be turning me into something that the former self wouldn’t recognize. These days I sometimes admit it is too hot to ride my bicycle or work in the yard. Occasionally, I concede to being too tired to paddle a kayak or hike the TVA trails. And more and more often, I nap on the day of rest.

As one who always found it sad to observe middle-age people sitting rather than doing, I find it strange to join their club. In recent years, the prospects of sitting and resting seem downright tolerable.

Jenny’s transition to patio person is subtler because she is adept at the stationary life. It allows her active mind to work. While my physical stamina is greater, her mental acuity usually laps me before my brain gets out the gate.

So she sits on the patio and thinks or reads while I stare at the flickering Tiki torch.

There is no junk on our present-day patio, no bicycles, Frisbees, footballs or inflatable kiddy pools.

We decorated with wrought-iron furniture and flowers. We repurposed an old wooden ladder, scrap lumber and cedar fence boards into plant containers. Two sprawling oaks provide the canopy. And the steep terrain of the backyard offers a placid view of the neighborhood.

The mosquitoes and heat of August often run us inside, but we know their season is waning. Fall may not be in the air, but it’s on the calendar. And we have a date with the patio.

Patio people of 


the world unite