Time for Front Porch Visits

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

True luxury is being able to own your time – to be able to take a walk, sit on your porch, read the paper, not take the call, not be compelled by obligation. ~Ashton Kutcher
Do you have a front porch? I grew up in a house with a front porch. We didn’t have chairs on it. That would have gotten in the way of our rollerskating fun. It was the only slab of concrete around and my sister and I rollerskated for miles and miles on it while dreaming of sidewalks and blacktopped lanes that we could skate on to who knows where. But while we didn’t have anything on our porch for sitting, my grandfather’s house had a porch made for sitting and visiting awhile. 
There was a swing on one end. I can still here the sound of the chains groaning a little as we eased the swing back and forth with our feet. On the other end, itchy vines grew up strings to shade a two-seater wooden porch rocker. My grandfather’s chair was a green metal one that had a spring to it when you sat down. Then another of those two-seater wooden rockers. Plenty of places for you to sit and for the neighbors to come rest a while in the shade and catch up on the news. 
I remember sitting on that porch breaking beans and hulling limas. My grandfather always kept a flyswatter in his hand to chase kill flies in between his nodding off dozes. He was already well into his eighties when I remember him best. I wish I had known what to ask him so he’d tell me stories, but he wasn’t much for talking. There were a few neighbors who stopped by from time to time and were much for talking. I remember swinging and listening.
That porch is where I had my first case of extreme dog yearning love at around age eight or nine. My aunt, who lived with my grandfather, took in a black Cockerspaniel that had been dropped on our road, and all summer I walked to her house every day to see that dog. He would get up beside me in that two-seater rocker and lay his head in my lap. I loved that dog. I’ll have to tell you his whole story another day. But I spent a lot of time on my grandfather’s front porch that year rubbing Inky’s ears.
A few years after my husband and I got married, we were able to build a new all modern conveniences house. It was ten times warmer in the winter than the old farmhouse where we had been living. We didn’t have to draw water. Just turn a faucet. We had wall to wall carpeting. There was something almost amazing about getting up in the morning without your feet hitting cold floors, but carpet. It was good. But there was no porch – front or back. 
My husband, who moved around a lot as a kid, lived in some old farmhouses that had great porches. He’s always believed a house needs a porch. Or maybe that a man needs a porch to sit on to take a rest and watch the end of the day happening. 

We still don’t have a porch, buteventually we did add on a front and back deck. The next best thing to a porch, I suppose. Not so good in the rain or extra hot sunshine, but still a place for a rocker and a glider. A place for a hummingbird feeder and a tinkling wind chime. A place for flowers. A place to see and dream about the leisure of sitting on a porch. Sometimes a place to sit and enjoy the last little bits of the day.

I see front porches all the time when I’m driving through some of the older neighborhoods and some of the newer ones too. The furniture looks comfy. The shade looks deep. The only thing missing are the people. Maybe they’re all sitting on their back porches. But I often think that we make our porches and our decks to match a dream of leisurely afternoons and then we never capture those precious hours for sitting and maybe reading a book or doing nothing but wait for a neighbor to come calling. 
What do you think? Do you love porches? Do you have a porch? If you do or ever had a porch, what are some of your front porch memories?