Do you have a porch? The porch represents much more than just a practical feature of a house, it brings to mind warm memories and opportunities for spending time with friends and family.
My earliest memory of porch-sitting comes from my childhood. I was maybe 4 or 5 and my family was renting a small house in Akron, Ohio. Our landlords lived next door, an elderly pair, Elsie & Okie. They were siblings.
Elsie’s husband had died at some point before we moved there. Elsie and Okie originally lived next door to one another but when Elsie’s husband passed she couldn’t live by herself. So, they combined households, making our house available for rent. Elsie was pretty frail and in poor health so Okie did most of the day-to-day chores around the place.
Okie liked to sit out on the front porch most evenings and sometimes in the middle of the day. I was a regular fixture there, visiting for what seems now like hours. I don’t remember one thing we talked about but I remember it being a high point of my day to go there to visit. I was always keeping an eye out for when Okie came out the front door to sit on the porch. Looking back now, I probably drove him nuts, but if so he never let on. The visits were pretty much restricted to the porch so we didn’t disturb Elsie who always stayed inside.
On one particular night of the week, Tuesday I think, the visits were cut short when Okie would announce it was time for him to go inside and watch “the fights”. Okie enjoyed watching boxing matches each week and that was off limits to me, so whether it was dark yet or not I was sent home on boxing night. The rest of the time the visits ended when it began to get dark.
Elsie passed away and when she died Okie packed up and moved away to live with relatives somewhere in West Virginia. I only remember seeing him once more after he moved. We stopped by for a visit on the way to see our relatives in another part of the state. I can still remember that day just like it was yesterday (surprising since more and more often I find I can’t remember what actually did happen yesterday 🙂 )
Back in Ohio, we moved from that address not long after Okie when I had just turned six and my porch visiting evolved a little when I got old enough to reach new and exciting places in the new neighborhood by bicycle.
Both of my parents and especially my dad are avid porch-sitters. I remember hiking along behind my dad as he made small excursions on foot “up the hill” to visit my great grandfather for long porch visits, sometimes most of the day. I don’t remember as much as I’d like about those conversations and I think it was because I was a little afraid of my great grandmother’s brother, Harv, who lived there too. Something had happened to him in his younger days and he was unable to support himself so he came to live with Mommy and Poppy as we called them. He was a little unpredictable sometimes in his moods and got irritated with kids easily. He wasn’t at all shy about letting his feelings be known so the younger generation developed a healthy and sometimes amusing fear of him. It also caused my attention to be riveted to him for most visits, keeping a wary eye and being careful not to accidentally get in his path. I’ll share more about this later ~ some very funny stories involving Harv.
These days my favorite way to unwind is sitting on the porch during the warm months, by myself or with others. We have a back and front porch so there is variety. The back gives a view of the horses and the front has us enveloped in big white oak trees and sometimes a pretty nice show of wildlife. Just add a tall glass of iced tea and all is right with the world, even if only for a little while.
The more hectic life gets, the more inviting the porch becomes ~ what a fantastic way to enjoy some down time and catch up with family and friends. Do you have a porch?