David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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The Screened Porch


This is the time of year when I have to replace screens. Now this may seem to you like not much of a problem, but I have to do it every year and it is a job I dread. Also, it's my grandfather's fault.

You see, when my grandfather built on to the original homesteader's cabin in 1917, he wanted to entertain outdoors in the summer in some style. So, in the best tradition of Iowa, which is where he spent the winter, he built a huge screened porch, about 25 feet long and 7 or eight feet wide.

Through the twenties and thirties he and his wife and guests -- Edna Ferber, A.A. Hyde, William Allen White, Otis Skinner and his daughter Cornelia and many others, drank tea and talked away the summer afternoons in the shadow of Mt. Meeker.

So when the Reverend Mr. Warren in 1919 built the cabin which would eventually become my home, he must have figured he needed the same kind of porch, because it was a near duplicate. It's been shortened some over the years, to about a third the original size, but it still has eleven panels of screen, each about 6 feet by 3 feet.

Now, the real difference between the two home sites is wind, and those of you who have screened porches and live in windy places know exactly what I'm talking about. Grandfather's cabin was down beside the stream, and my place is considerably more exposed. Besides, they don't make screens like they used to. In fact, they make nylon screens, which, based on my experience, are best used in really calm places, like indoors.

The upshot of all this is that I buy screen by the roll, and every spring I look out at the porch and try to guess how many panels I'll have to replace this year. And every year the ladder seems shakier and it seems as though it's harder to hold the screen up while I use the staple gun (for years we had to use the little staples you hammered in, and you had sore fingers when you were done. The screens didn't last any longer, either).

Well, now we have big plans to glass in the porch with triple-glazed sliding windows, and we'll still have screens, but they'll be small and manufactured, and I may never have to replace them. This is called progress, and I'm in favor of progress, in small doses, like staple guns. But I am going to miss the fullness of sight and sound afforded by a big screened porch.

All that's in the distant future. At the moment there are three screens that blew out this spring, so, if you'll excuse me. . .




© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner

Allenspark Wind Columns:


Why Allenspark?

Going Riding [August, 1985]


Used Cars

Peace and Quiet [1986]

Liberals & Conservatives

Going to the Movies

The Screened Porch

The Beginning of The Season

The Weather

The Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The End of The Season

The Gift of Time

The Beavers

Addresses [1987]


Watching the Trees Grow

Postal Rates

Changes in Estes Park

Square Dancing at the Pow Wow

Back to the Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The Solstices

Bird Feeders


The Estes Park Hardware Store [1988]


Limousine Service

A Memorial Service

A Hummingbird


A Hiking Trip

The Estes Park Public Library

Wild Life

Riparian Rights [1989]




Mountain Friendliness

A Motorcycle Trip

Satellite Television

“Weaving Mountain Memories”

Hotel Rates in the Old Days

The Price of Propane [1990]

The Front Range Almanac


Modes of Transportation

Miller Moths

My 50th Column

Modern Conveniences

Rock Climbing

On the Death of Otto Walter, Postmaster

Otto’s Memorial Service

A Big Owl Pot-Luck Dinner

A Whine About Telephone Service [1991]

After the Persian Gulf War

Some Changes in the WIND

The Trip to the Mountains

The Mountains in the Summer


Of Dogs, Music, and Children

Muhlenburg County

To My Grandson

The Sale of Longs Peak Inn

World War II  [1992]

Murphy’s Law and the Computer

The South St. Vrain Canyon


The Hazards of Volunteering

Crime in Our Valley


On the Death of Charles Eagle Plume

Can We All Get Along?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Lost Horizon [1993]


Rumors About a Visit by the Pope


More About Fences


The Visit of Pope John Paul II

Forest Fires

The New Sewage System

The Snow Pool

The Good Old Days [1994]

The WIND’s 20th Anniversary

The Bunce School

The Shooting Gallery

The Estes Park Museum

Our Government

U.S. West Takes a Hit

The Year of the Hummingbirds

A New “Yield” Sign

Growth in Allenspark

Private Telephones?

The Salvation Army

Creation Science [1995]

Devolutionizing Big Government



Fort D.A. Russell

Domestic Terrorism

Old and New

Barney Graves

Life in the Wilderness

What’s In a Name?

Arthur C. Clarke


The Estes Park Trail-Gazette Columns:

July 1983


Estes Cone

Johnny Grant

Observations in Estes Park

The Bath House


The Sutherland’s Ice House

How Old is Charles Eagle Plume?


Christmas Trees

Tree Murder

Mountain Driving


Mail Boxes

More About Mail Boxes

“Are you related to ....?”


An Accident

The Wild Cat

A July Reunion

A Visit to Baldpate Inn

Opening Cabins


The Times, They Have Changed

Death and Transfiguration

The Population Explosion

The March of Time

Faith-Based Social Services

Looking for Pitch

Recent Writings I

Recent Writings II

Recent Writings III

Recent Writings IV

Recent Writings V

Recent Writings VI



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