are you doing?” I asked Willie as
by his house on my way home.
I’m just doin’ some porch sittin” he replied as
he swung back and forth
ever so slightly on his porch swing.
a child, I would often see Willie out on his porch.
He was an older
who still worked hard around his place but he
took time off for some “porch sittin’”.
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.
was summertime and many other scenes such as the one
I mention above took place
everyday where I grew up.
sittin” was a common activity. Nearly
a porch with a wooden swing that hung down from chains that
held by hooks on the porch ceiling. Most
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.
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
the porch where it was cooler and it seemed to make the job more
enjoyable just by being outside in nature’s living room.
seems like a lot of living took place on porches in times past.
least it was that way where I grew up. Seeing
a person sitting on
front porch was pretty much the same as an invitation for
stop by and pass the time of day.
people did part of their garden work on their porches.
It didn’t matter if it was snapping beans, hulling peas, or
apples someone was apt to sit down beside you
and give you a hand with the
remember a lot of visiting, discussions, and even problems solved
green beans. Women learned from one
and often offered help for whatever need that was mentioned.
“Try using a little corn starch on that baby’s diaper rash,”
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.
were good times when porches were used for many things.
did needle work or rocked babies, men whittled or fixed
children played “pretend”.
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.
if the sun wasn’t shining, there was nothing quite like the sound of
on the porch roof. It was such a
secure feeling and a perfect time
curl up on the porch swing with a quilt and a good book and
to the soft pattering of the raindrops.
summer nights were also very good for “porch sittin”.
We made friends with the night sky as we enjoyed God’s
As a child I
learned about stars and constellations from my parents.
I learned how to identify the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper,
identify the North Star and the Milky Way.
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
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
outstretched above her, as she caught
lightning bugs in a jar for me one hot
when summer nights didn’t cool off enough to be
comfortable for sleeping, some
folks would sleep outside on their
My girlfriends and I thought that sleeping on the porch
was a great
for that one time when
the cat decided to bring us a gift
we woke up to find half of a mouse upon our quilt!
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
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.”
have always loved porch swings. After
I was grown and married,
one thing that sold me on the house that we bought was
swing on the back porch that overlooked a pond.
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?
they all at Wal-Mart or inside
If so, they
are missing out on a lot.
Why not shoo the kids outside and take a little time out for
sittin”? Take something along to
read or work on
if you like but there’s nothing wrong with just sitting and
nothing because it really isn’t doing nothing, it’s “porch
If practiced enough, you
can become an expert at 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
and all of God’s creation is still right there to enjoy.
it’s been a long day so I think I’ll go outside for a spell
just about “porch sittin” time.