Jenny Derringer

Jenny Derringer

I’m an odd person, so I might as well admit that before someone else points it out. While it’s normal to have a love/hate relationship with a person, I unwittingly fell into a love/hate relationship with my house — in particular, my driveway.

Most people give little thought to their driveway unless it’s time to shovel the dreaded snow. I tend to shovel snow from my back door to a small pathway around my car. Other than that, I have a four-wheel drive vehicle that can get through a lot.

But my love/hate relationship began nearly 30 years ago when I initially purchased my quaint little house in Defiance. Soon after I moved in that October, the first heavy rain made me realize that the initial contractor that poured the concrete on that narrow drive that runs along the house didn’t do it correctly. Though I had other house issues to deal with, I soon hated that driveway.

To me it would make sense to have the driveway slant away from the house. That drive — version 1.0 — not only slanted toward the house, but at some point a previous owner realized that rain water was working its way into the basement. As a quick fix, someone opted to pour a three- to four-inch curb to block out the water.

After I moved in, I decided there was still an issue with that. For way too many years, in an attempt to save money from having a new driveway poured, I caulked the cracks to keep the moisture out. Band-aid fixes work for awhile, but hey... at some point I had to accept reality and do the right thing.

After an aunt passed away, she left me a little money. Being the sensible person that I am, I didn’t have fun with the cash and take a memorable vacation or splurge on something for the heck of it.

No, instead I hired someone to rip out that old driveway, waterproof the wall of the basement, put in tile and stone and repour the drive. I was very specific and persistent in what I wanted though. The contractor, knowing the issues I had with the driveway, was warned that if the driveway didn’t slant away from the house, it was going to be ripped out and done right.

Happily enough, the drive was poured just as I asked. Thus began the “love” part of my relationship with yards and yards of concrete, driveway 2.0.

Over the years, the driveway has been the location for many garage sales. Hundreds of customers and curiosity-seekers have traversed that drive, looking for lots of bargains and oddities.

With 2020, came the COVID-19 pandemic. As a believer of science, I knew the importance of social distancing, cutting back completely on going into other households — those who weren’t part of my “germ pod.”

In April, my birthday rolled around and I knew my usual celebration was not in the cards. Typically, I would meet up with a dozen of my closest friends and we would celebrate at an area Mexican restaurant with margaritas. This time I was informed that a friend would be stopping by to drop off my birthday gift. A quick phone call summoned me out into the driveway.

Before I knew it, there were a half dozen or so friends who had piled into their cars and were participating in a “drive-by birthday celebration” for me. Honks and yelling accompanied gifts and cards dropped off through car windows.

Throughout the last several months, plenty of friends and neighbors have stopped by for socially-distanced chats in the driveway, with me sitting on the front steps.

The best chats, of course, typically are when someone brings gifts to share, particularly “adult beverages” for two. Yes, I officially love my driveway now.

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