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“Porch Sittin’ ”
Pamela Perry Blaine
© June 2005
“What are you doing?” I asked Willie as I passed
by his house on my way home.
“Awwww I’m just doin’ some porch sittin” he replied as
he swung back and forth ever so slightly on his porch swing.
As a child, I would often see Willie out on his porch.
He was an older man who still worked hard around his place but he
often took time off for some “porch sittin’”.
“I got the radio on and the Cardinals will be playing ball here
in a minute if you want to sit a spell,” Willie said as he scooted
over on the swing and patted the seat next to him
as he adjusted the volume on the radio.
It was summertime and many other scenes such as the one
I mention above took place everyday where I grew up.
“Porch sittin” was a common activity. Nearly everyone had
a porch with a wooden swing that hung down from chains that
were held by hooks on the porch ceiling. Most swings
held two or three people and if neighbors showed up to
sit a spell then more chairs would be brought out from
inside the house. The younger folks might sit on the porch steps
while children played in the yard or found a tree to climb.
The porch was like an extension of the living room because
it was cooler out on the porch when the summer’s heat became
uncomfortable. There wasn’t air conditioning so houses were
often built so that they were situated where the breeze would
waft across the porch and there was a roof that protected
porch sitters from the sun and rain. Essentially, all the work
that could possibly be done outdoors was transported to
the porch where it was cooler and it seemed to make the job more
enjoyable just by being outside in nature’s living room.
It seems like a lot of living took place on porches in times past.
At least it was that way where I grew up. Seeing a person sitting on
their front porch was pretty much the same as an invitation for neighbors
to stop by and pass the time of day.
Many people did part of their garden work on their porches.
It didn’t matter if it was snapping beans, hulling peas, or
peeling apples someone was apt to sit down beside you
and give you a hand with the chore.
I remember a lot of visiting, discussions, and even problems solved
while snapping green beans. Women learned from one another
and often offered help for whatever need that was mentioned.
“Try using a little corn starch on that baby’s diaper rash,”
a young mother might learn from an older neighbor lady,
“And next time you need to work out in the garden, just bring
that little one over here and I’ll watch him, I kind of miss
having a baby around,” the neighbor might say.
Those were good times when porches were used for many things.
Women did needle work or rocked babies, men whittled or fixed things,
and children played “pretend”.
Sometimes the porch was used to just get off alone for a time and read,
meditate, or just do some thinking…“woolgathering” Momma used to call it.
Even if the sun wasn’t shining, there was nothing quite like the sound of
rain on the porch roof. It was such a secure feeling and a perfect time
to curl up on the porch swing with a quilt and a good book and
listen to the soft pattering of the raindrops.
The summer nights were also very good for “porch sittin”.
We made friends with the night sky as we enjoyed God’s creation.
As a child I learned about stars and constellations from my parents.
I learned how to identify the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper,
and then identify the North Star and the Milky Way.
There were all the different night sounds that were a little
frightening at first until Momma explained the howling of the coyotes,
the loud noise of the bullfrog, and the calls of hoot owls
and whippoorwills. We also watched the mysterious twinkling
lightning bugs flit around in the dark. A permanent picture is
engraved in my mind of my mother standing in a long white
nightgown, arms outstretched above her, as she caught
lightning bugs in a jar for me one hot summer’s night.
Occasionally, when summer nights didn’t cool off enough to be
comfortable for sleeping, some folks would sleep outside on their
porches. My girlfriends and I thought that sleeping on the porch
was a great adventure, except for that one time when
the cat decided to bring us a gift
and we woke up to find half of a mouse upon our quilt!
In later years, my parents enclosed our front porch for an extra room.
I hated to see the porch closed in but I was glad when my parents
simply moved the old porch swing and hung it from the huge old
maple tree where the family still gathered. Daddy and my brother
would often sit out there under that tree and play their guitars,
usually with a dog or two stretched out beneath their feet as
they played one more chorus of “Just A Closer Walk With Thee.”
I have always loved porch swings. After I was grown and married,
the one thing that sold me on the house that we bought was
the swing on the back porch that overlooked a pond.
I’m glad to see that some houses being built today are going back
to adding porches. Yet, it isn’t the porches, it’s the people
that make the difference. As I drive through neighborhoods
these days I sometimes wonder, “Where are all the people?
Are they all at Wal-Mart or inside watching television?”
If so, they are missing out on a lot.
some “porch sittin”? Take something along to read or work on
if you like but there’s nothing wrong with just sitting and doing
nothing because it really isn’t doing nothing, it’s “porch sittin”.
If practiced enough, you can become an expert at it.
It seems like “porch sittin” is nearly a lost art. Perhaps we can
still revive it. If you don’t have a porch, don’t worry, a chair
out under a shade tree will do. I don’t have a porch like I
once had either but I have a great imagination
and all of God’s creation is still right there to enjoy.
Well, it’s been a long day so I think I’ll go outside for a spell
because it’s just about “porch sittin” time.
Pamela Perry Blaine
© June 2005
Pamela Perry Blaine
(Story as told to me by a Viet Nam Veteran
who prefers to remain anonymous)
The other day I was walking into the local Wal-Mart store when
I noticed an older man walking beside a younger man.
The younger man was wearing army fatigues.
I was curious so I stopped and asked, “Excuse me young man, but
I was just wondering if you were in the service or
are you just wearing fatigues?"
The young man stated that he was really in the army and then his
Dad added in a strong voice that was filled with pride, “This is
my son and he has just returned from his second tour in Iraq."
I told him how glad I was that he had returned home safely
and then I said, “Young man, I would like to do something
for you that no one outside of my family did for me when
I returned home from serving in Viet Nam.”
“What is that?” he asked.
“I’d be proud to welcome you home by shaking your hand
if I might and say thank you for your service to our
country,” I said as I held out my hand.
The young soldier and his Dad both stood a little taller as the young man
stuck out his hand which I readily grasped and we just stood there,
the three of us, with our right hands joined. We were three strangers
drawn together by a common bond, we all understood,
not needing to say anything more.
After nodding to each other, I started to break the grasp and walk away
but the young soldier seemed to have something on his mind as
he hesitated, and then he stopped me before I could move.
He was quiet for a moment and then he looked me
straight in the eye and then he ever so clearly
uttered the words, "Thank you . . . and . . . Welcome Home”.
We then parted company as we went our separate ways.
I finished buying the supplies I needed, walked on home,
and oh yeah … I cried.
(Anonymous Viet Nam veteran)
We often forget to be thankful to those who serve our country,
protect us from terrorism, and preserve our freedom. We have veterans
living today that have served us in WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, and
The Persian Gulf. We have those on active duty who are serving
our country right now in Iraq as well as other places around the world.
Today the average age of a WWII Veteran is 81; we are quickly losing
them from the battlefield of life. They are now leaving us at
the rate of 1500 per day. I see many of them carrying our flag
in parades and participating in military funerals. They tell me
the veteran’s organizations need more veterans to help
them with these duties now. This is due to the failing health and
the deaths of most of the WWII veterans who have kept these organizations
alive with their unswerving dedication and patriotism. Perhaps it’s time
we expressed appreciation with a card or a phone call to someone we
know personally while there’s still time. It shouldn’t have to be Memorial Day
or Veteran’s Day for us to be appreciative toward all of our veterans no
matter where they served. The point is that they served and gave
of themselves that we might live in freedom.
We can also show our appreciation to those serving us right now by
writing letters, sending e-mails, or sending packages to our soldiers. *
Today is a good day to be grateful, there’s no time like the present
and it’s the only time that we have for certain. When we see or hear
of a soldier coming home from war, most important of all, let’s remember
to give them a heartfelt, “Thank you . . . and . . . Welcome Home!”
Pamela Perry Blaine
"If you love your freedom, thank a vet"
*Internet Link to a site for more information on ways to support our troops:
Internet Link to a tribute to WWII Vets
The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.
-- G. K. Chesterton
This link is temporarily down
Thanks to Becky I now have a special video
I wrote your name in the sand but the waves washed it away,
then I wrote it in the sky but the wind blew it away,
so I wrote it in my heart and that's where it will stay.
See index for more writings
is for good men to do nothing”
~ I need to love my enemies; I made them. ~
"Many waters cannot quench love,
Click on index for more writings
If you are suffering at the hands of a bad person,
Sticks and stones may break my bones
If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Remember when you talk
you only repeat what you already know
but if you listen you may learn something.
Alas for those who never sing
Just For Laughs
~~These days about half the stuff in my shopping cart
says, "For fast relief."
~~He who dies with the most toys is still dead.
~~The early worm gets eaten by the bird, so sleep late.
~~Always read stuff that will make you look
good if you die in the middle of it.
~~Never put off until tomorrow what you can avoid altogether.
~~The pen is mightier than the sword - so,
~~Happiness is too easy to lose - next time I find some,
~~If all is not lost, where is it?
~~There will always be death and taxes;
~~If I were here more often, I wouldn't be gone so much.
~~A sign in the restroom said "Employees Must Wash Hands,"
I waited and waited, but I finally washed them myself.
washed them myself.
~~All things will be fine in the end. If it's not fine, its not the end!
~~Chicken Little was right!
Two things can bring down a tree. A strong
wind on the outside, or rot and decay on the inside.
"Greater love has no one than this,
A man has to live with himself, and he should see to it that
he always has good company.
-Charles Evan Hughes
"Love People, Use things, not vice versa"
"There are two kinds of people... those who say to God:
Thy will be done, and those to whom God says:
"All right, then, have it your way."
"We are not human beings having
Having a resentment is like drinking poison
and waiting for the other person to die.
"The Bread of Life needs no butter"
Jesus said to him,
"I have told you these things,
"You shall know the Truth,
"The one who does not love
"A friend is someone who knows the song in your
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As a child of God, prayer is kind of like calling home everyday.
One last hug before I go...