The other day, I drove through a neighborhood I don’t normally travel through, and I noticed something. Everyone was sitting on their porches.
Granted, it was a really nice day. Downright spring-like.
But I was surprised at how many people were out on those porches. Each house had someone sitting there, just watching life happen.
When I was a kid, I would spend a week or so with my Granny every summer. There wasn’t much to do, as there were no kids in her neighborhood to play with. And I was banished from the sitting room every afternoon, too. It was when Granny’s “stories” were on.
But after supper, well, that was the best part of the day. That’s when we’d go out onto the porch, and sit in the swing. Granny would fan us with one of her funeral home fans. And she’d talk. She told me all sorts of stories about my mother and her 10 brothers and sisters. Lord, did Granny have some stories about raising 11 children.
Like the time my uncles put nails in a little board, then buried the board in the dirt road in front of the house and casually went back to playing in the yard, waiting for a car to go by and get a flat tire.
“Got a flat tire, mister? We’ll change it for you...for a nickel!”
Or the time my mother pulled the petals off every single petunia my Granny had just planted. They still call her Petunia.
Or the time my Aunt Julia went into the hen house and got pecked by a hen, and she said, with as much of a stern voice as a 3-year-old can muster, “Oh, you little ol’ hen you!”
I could honestly have sat in that swing forever and listened to my Granny tell those stories. If I close my eyes, I can still hear that swing creak and feel the breeze on my face from that fan. And I can hear Granny laugh. She had one of those great laughs...you know the kind that shakes the belly and resonates. She laughed like she meant it.
People have lost the fine art of front porch sittin’. Why, way back when, the front porch was where you spent time courtin’, and it’s where families gathered after church. It’s where sweet tea was consumed by the gallon, and children laughed, parents commiserated, and grandparents smiled and watched it all.
Nowadays, it feels like we’re all just too busy to take the time to sit on the porch.
Not me. I’m finding a porch, and I’m just going to sit there and watch the world go by. I know it’s great therapy.
I might even use one of those funeral home fans.