On the Porch

Andy sitting on the front porch, strumming his guitar and softly singing a quiet ballad. Aunt Bee knitting. Opie playing on the floor. Barney sharing his ambitions: “Yep, you know what I just might do? Go over to Goob’s and get a pop.” An hour later he’s still thinking about such an ambitious trip.

And our fast-paced 24-7 world yearns to get back to Mayberry. Rascal Flats sings about it!

And the great American porch is experiencing a resurgence of popularity. Back into style by being upfront!  In 1995 only 42% of new homes were built with porches; in 2011, 65%! The statistic that matters is that our 1900-built Victorian home has one! It may well be its most cherished feature.

So Mary and I find some time each day to go sit on the porch. Heaven on earth is when a cool breeze keeps the mosquitos in flight elsewhere.   Thanks to those pests people today opt for closed-in porches.

That would ruin it for me. Not the same. A house we flipped had a closed-in porch so we installed a porch swing in it. Years later I see that the swing is gone. So are the owners and it’s in foreclosure.

No, a porch needs to be open to the street and to the world! A bridge to the outside!

I love to look at the front yard we restored this spring with new sod and all the beautiful flowers Mary has planted. I love to watch the neighbors across the street, whom we don’t really know that well, but sitting on the front porch says that we’re open to the possibilities, and sooner or later we briefly chat about something. And sociologists say the lure of a front porch is a desire for community.

Probably, but the peaceful solitude punctuated by various birds sharing their happiness is reason enough for me to cherish venturing out all by myself.

But the best reason is the wonderful sharing time with Mary. When we recently took Gary Campbell’s 5 Love Languages test, Mary scored highest for Quality Time. When we step out onto the porch, one of us chooses the recliner on the left and the other takes the one on the right. We don’t always sit in the same one. Our beloved dog Dutchess, a 14-year-old golden retriever, lays between us on the cool cement. She gets the privilege over our other 2 yappy dogs because she ignores any cars, people and even dogs that pass by.

Probably looks like the set of Hee-Haw but there’s no gloom, despair and misery on me here!

So far I haven’t tried to be like Andy and play the new banjo my youngest daughter gave me for Father’s Day. That would probably ruin the front porch experience for everybody for all time! But my best number so far is a 3-chord rendition of “You get a line and I’ll get a pole, and we’ll all go down to the crawdad hole.” Andy would probably tear up.

Mary reads when she goes out by herself. But this summer we have been enjoying the porch as a special quality time to share just the two of us. Almost 26 years together but right now our best celebration comes out on the porch.

That said, if you happen to pass by, come on up!

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