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Time slows when you’re on the porch

June 25, 2011
By Bonnie K. Phares - Special to The Inter-Mountain , The Inter-Mountain

There's no sittin' like porch sittin'. In my opinion, if you don't have a porch, you don't have a life! Don't put me in one of those New York City condos, 23 stories up in the air. If that's the case, just dig a hole and put me in that.

Do you ever watch HGTV? I chuckle when they are house hunting and find a city apartment with a "terrace." "My Goodness," the home shopper will say. "I can put a chair out here and maybe a plant." Imagine that!

When we built our house in 1984, our contractor, David Rice, shook his head and told me that we had almost as much space in our porches as we had in half the house. That didn't seem odd to me after growing up on a farm where the porch ran all the way across the front of the house. After all, a lot takes place on the porch. Most of it is sittin', and ya gotta have room to sit.

Porches demand two necessities: a rockin' chair and a swing. Both of these make for easy sittin', no doubt about it. Our grandparents knew that. I can still see my great-grandmother Kennedy and her brother, Uncle Mike, just rockin' away on our front porch at the farm on a warm, breezy summer afternoon. No hurry about anything. If they had something to say, it was said. If not, they were content to just rock a spell.

Our house has large front and back porches. There's a rocker on both, with a swing on the front porch. Sometime, I just can't decide where I'd rather sit, but the swing usually draws me in. That's where The Inter-Mountain is read each day, or I just sit and watch the traffic up through Gilman. Everyone is in such a hurry. They need a porch swing to slow 'em down.

On Sunday afternoons, I pour a tall, cold glass of iced tea, grab my glasses, Maeve Binchy's latest book and to the swing I go. Pillows are propped up on the end, a little push with my feet, then feet up, open the book and turn the pages. The sun shines, clouds float, a breeze now and then across my face the the creak of the swing's chain. What a life! Hours just glide by.

Sometimes company comes in the middle of a chapter, but that's one of the advantages of havin' a porch. It's a gatherin' place. And there's always a seat for someone in the rockin' chair or in one of the other comfortable chairs. If I feel so inclined, I'll even put my feet down and let them share the swing with me.

After sittin' about 10 minutes or so, company seems to change right before my eyes. The rockin' of the chair slows down, and they begin to look around rather than lookin' at their wristwatch. They begin to talk a little more, too, and rock and rock and don't want to leave. They just like to sit there and watch the grass grow. That's what porch sittin' can do for ya.

Conversation on the porch can vary and cover just about any subject, from politics to the new TV show last night, to how many grandchildren the neighbors have. But the subject usually comes around to "remember the summer we all ...," or "guess who I saw yesterday ..." or "what year was it we ... "

Porch sittin' will always take you back. The slower the rockin', the more memories come, and they're always the good ones. Make ya feel good inside. More likely than not, I'll have to offer that second glass of iced tea, because it doesn't look like they've had their fill of sittin'.

I do spend my share of time on the back porch, too. That's where my three bird feeders are and where all the passin'-through feathered friends stop for a seed or two and drink from the bird bath. And out back is where my best friend, Angel, can spend her time just trackin' last night's rabbit and this morning's stray dog. When she's done with that, she'll take up residence on the porch. You see, porches are habit forming, for both man and beast.

So, I'll tell ya like I tell any friends who might be comin' for a visit. If I'm not on the front porch, just come around to the back porch, 'cause that's where you'll find me. And we'll do a little porch sittin' before ya leave. It'll be good for ya. Trust me.



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