As a young kid, I remember my grandparents reliving tales of the Front Porch. It was a gathering place for all the community. There was a division of seating by age, Bat Removal and sex. The young children sat on the ground, playing marbles or jacks. Based on the season, the girls sat on swings and snapped beans, shelled peas or cracked pecans while the men discussed the weather, the plants and the stock exchange (4 legged stock, that is). Young couples, for example my parents, found shadows on this Front Porch to court and possibly steal a kiss.
As if on an internal clock, all activity stopped on the Front Porch when the window to the parlor was raised and the radio turned up. The toils of everyday life were put aside as the airings of Groucho Marx, Amos and Andy, Fibber McGee and Molly and Jack Bennny hauled them to a lighter time. Pallets were laid down for the kids; cigars were lit and lemonade served as the adults sat quietly listening to every word of the Fireside Chat. My mother to the day she died, remembered the exact moment when FDR spoke of”the date which will live in infamy”. Those words changed not only the management of the country; but also, the dynamics of the Front Porch in that tiny rural community in Western Kentucky. I have two uncles buried at Pearl Harbor. The customs shared from this Front Porch are extremely personal to my loved ones.
Through the years, activities on the Front Porch have surely changed. Horses and Model T’s gave way to bikes, and personal cars and skate and hover boards. Years later, I listened to the sound of a car to come up the driveway and the final good night kiss from my daughter’s beau.
Televisions are as large as your imagination and with programs that defy imagination. Entertaining is frequently potluck but fortunately time honored recipes continue to be shared from family cookbooks. Lighting is solar or LED instead of by kerosene lanterns. Music is shuffled on your iPod playlist and commanded with Alexi. There is still division of seating by sex and age. The young ones are glued to their smart phones and choose selfies to share on social networking. The women share weight loss and fashion secrets; but very few. Men whisper about their jobs, the stock exchange and their libido.
I am nostalgic tonight. My mom just passed from this earthly life. She would have been 97 in a couple of weeks. She kept a journal for the last 77 years. I am sitting on the Front Porch swing reading her entries and reminiscing. There’s absolutely no TV on; not even the radio. My dog looks at me with confusion and concern. Can I need for days when life was simpler and people kinder. Perhaps. As in the days of my grandparents, the Front Porch is still the very first room of my home. I enjoy that as I wait for my loved ones to gather. We’ll honor her passing as we recall my mom – Meme.