In the Good Ol' Summertime - Porches
I seriously cannot remember a summer with any of my grandparents where the porch didn't figure prominently in memory.
Granny's favored seating area was on a side porch, where people tended to come if they weren't family. She kept four chairs on that porch and a handy set of stackable chairs just inside the door. Also just inside that front door was a stack of hand held paper fans. These were mostly passed out by some local funeral service and featured photos of guardian angels holding infants from tumbling over a cliff...you know lighthearted themes like that.
Granny's porch happened to be on the shady side of the house and overlooked her garden and flower beds. This only added to the ambience of the porch. It was always peaceful there and I say truly I spent many and many an hour on the porch with her as a child and as an adult. Many of my deepest life problems were sorted out and many a heart ache soothed there.
Granny always had a pitcher of tea ready to be served to her guests and it was always the most perfect refreshment.
Big Mama had a front porch that was screened in. I think the sound of a screen door squawking open and squealing shut just before it slams is a homey sort of sound. Big Mama's porch had a line of rocking chairs, solid wood ones. They looked to be handmade but I'm not sure if they were. The sort I'm talking of were commonly sighted on many a farmhouse front porch. They were solid and usually painted white. The paint almost always had a chalky finish that dusted your clothing.
Big Mama's porch overlooked her garden as well which was usually flourishing and at one end was a huge gardenia bush. I recall one year a robin nested in the Nanadina bush by her screen door and we had the best time watching those little birds open their tiny yellow beaks and reveal a wide orange throat that opened hopefully at the slightest sound.
Grandmama and Grandaddy's porches too were made for sitting. Theirs generally had some sort of metal chairs and they were the sort that sank low in the back when you sat down. They bounced nicely once you got over the shock of sinking so very low. Grandmama and Grandaddy generally sat on the porch after dark. It was lovely to sit on the dark porch, usually with a pan of green beans that needed snapping or a bushel of peas to shell out. Along about 10pm Grandmama would disappear into the house and return bearing cups of ice milk, usually vanilla flavored with a drizzle of Hershey's syrup over the top. Grandaddy would tell stories and talk of family history on those evenings.
I think what was missing from my childhood homes with Mama and Daddy was the porch. Not one of the houses we lived in had one.
When I lived in the house I loved best, there was a porch which I filled with flowering plants each summer and filled with seating. My furnishings were those bent willow pieces that were uncomfortable as could be but looked lovely and rustic. I learned rather quickly that I could use a folded quilt to soften the seats of those chairs.
It didn't look like much from the outside that porch. It was built of concrete blocks and had a concrete floor. It was just a flat roofed thing. One year we gave away the established shrubbery about the house. After the shrubs were gone you could see the former porch outlines on the house. It must have been lovely at one time, but I was very happy with the porch I had.
It wasn't until we moved here that I had another porch. The front porch is not small but it's not very useful. The front steps are inset and that eats up a good deal of floor space. But it is shaded by the Faith tree and there is generally a breeze of some sort. The porch is on the east side of the house so in evening it is especially pleasant.
We added a cover and new railings to our back deck and that too is a pleasant porch. It's been a wonderful addition to our home and we've never regretted the money spent on it. On summer mornings I enjoy it as a place to sit and study or to have a lovely breakfast...
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