“I know! I know!” he responds laughing at me.
And then I’ll see another and then repeat myself. Or the opposite and comment with, “That house would look so much better with a porch!”
I remember as a child, being at the house of one of my aunt’s, who had a screened in porch across the front. There were several rockers, along with several hard backed chairs. One of the chairs was reserved for her father-in-law who lived with them. He’d spend hours in his chair reading his newspaper while having a fly swatter handy, to swat any flying critters that came along to pester him.
We children would play or follow this revered man’s lead, and sit and read. What was even more fun was on those days when it rained — or better yet — stormed! What joy of being “out in the rain” but safely away from getting wet! I loved the sound of the crickets nearby or the croaking of the frogs from the pond down the way, or the lightening bugs that blinked brightly, as dusk fell on the area.
I haven’t spent much time on a porch like that since my childhood, but those memories remain…. and I dream! We’ve had porches, certainly, but they were much smaller than the one at my aunt’s house and weren’t screened. This allowed for those pesky flies, or mosquitoes, in the evening, to spoil time spent outdoors.
Still there’s another story, I can’t claim as mine, but fits well here. It’s about a little boy who had a bad temper. Little things would make him angry and he was quick to “vent.” Finally the little boy’s dad gave him a bag of nails and told him whenever he lost his temper, to take one of the nails and hammer it in a board at the end and bottom of the porch.
The very first day the little boy had driven 28 nails into the porch! As time passed, the number of nails being hammered into the board every day decreased. The day came when they boy never once lost his temper! The father instructed the boy to remove all the nails he had hammered in. After finishing, the boy reflected on how different the board looked with all the nail holes. The wise father agreed and said, "this board will never be the same. Each nail left a scar. The same is true when words are spoken in anger. Those words leave a scar that can never be removed."
This story gives a whole new meaning to porches! I am reminded how important it is to feel and accept the tranquility, and safety of sitting on a porch during a thunderstorm, or even protection from the hot summer sun. But it is also a reminder that our behaviors, whether on a porch, in our homes, in our workplace or visiting with friends, neighbors or strangers, has the potential to build up or tear down and leave scars.
I encourage you to reflect on your perspective of porches. Share a memory of a special time, or something that makes porches unique.