Last night we took a side street as we left the ball field. We were on our way to get ice cream, that honored summertime ritual, and as we moved slowly down the street I began to notice them. Porches. The one that triggered my imagination was small, the house was old, a two story affair probably built in the 40’s. A man sat in a high backed rocking chair while some family members milled around in the yard. Their front door was open and I could see the stairs leading to the upper level. A surpising private peek.
It was nice to see people outside after our long icky spring. It was nice to realize that people still sit on front porches of an evening. Very Norman Rockwell-esque. I smiled at the man who probably knew lots of cars would be leaving the ball field just then. Maybe he was porch sitting and looking forward to the “people parade.” He smiled back at me.
The next few houses had no porch activity and the one after those had a very cluttered look. Front porch as extra storage area. Yup, understand that. I glanced around as we passed and noticed this home also had a back porch, stacked high with fire wood. Wow, that’ll be nice and dry when the cold weather is upon us again.
My favorite kind of porch is one that wraps halfway around the house. You know, the one where you can put your Aunt Tilly’s beautiful old white wicker set and serve lotus blossom tea in the afternoon. Your friends show up in flowered dresses and beribboned leghorn hats loaded with gossip in full anticipation of lively conversation and your best cookies. Scarlett O’Hara would approve.
Our front porch has been reduced by more than half thanks to an ice storm that came through a few winters ago. That’s a picture of it up there. We hired out to have it repaired and it’s small now, but pretty. I set a pot of flowers out there all summer and try to keep it swept. I suppose there’s room for one chair but since we live out of the back of the house that’s not likely to happen. Still, I like the way it sort of guards the front door.
I went shopping with a friend yesterday and she told me she bought new cushions for her porch furniture. She has a nice front porch and a covered area out back, too. People who live in Cape Cod style houses don’t have front porches. Ranch style houses built in the 50’s and 60’s sometimes have a small covered area at the entrance. Doesn’t really qualify as a porch, I’m thinking. City porches are called “stoops.” That’s where you sat when it was just too blamed hot to be inside. I’m sorry for people who don’t have porches.
But perhaps we could shoot for a porch mentality whether we have one or not. A place of quiet contemplation or a good chin wag with a neighbor. The very best place for watching the world go by or rocking a baby. The place to plop down rain boots and umbrellas and get out of the storm or where children can be out of the house but not too far away.
Yeah, anyplace like that would do. Don’t you think?
PS: Sam’s team won!!