As a young child, I remember my grandparents reliving tales of the Front Porch. It was a gathering place for all the community. As the sun began to set on the weekend, families came – by foot, or horse or model T. There was a division of seating by age and sex. The young kids sat on the floor, playing marbles or jacks. Depending upon the season, the girls sat on swings and snapped beans, shelled peas or cracked pecans while the guys discussed the weather, the plants and the stock market (4 legged stock, that is). Young couples, for example my parents, found shadows on that Front Porch to court and possibly steal a kiss.
As if in an internal clock, all activity stopped on the Front Porch once 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 transported Critter Control to a lighter time. My mom to the day she died, remembered the exact instant when FDR spoke of”the date which will live in infamy”. Those words changed not only the direction of the country; but additionally, the dynamics of the Front Porch in that small rural community in Western Kentucky. The customs shared from this Front Porch are extremely personal to my family.
Through time, activities on the Front Porch have surely changed. Horses and Model T’s gave way to bicycles, and personal cars and skate and hover boards. Years later, I listened to the noise of a vehicle to come up the driveway and the final good night kiss from my daughter’s beau.
The radio is serious now, as in Sirius. 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 gender and age. The young ones are glued to their smart phones and take selfies to share on social media. The women discuss weight loss and fashion secrets; but not too many. Men whisper about their jobs, the stock exchange and their libido.
I am nostalgic tonight. My mother just passed from this earthly life. She would have been 97 in a few weeks. She kept a journal for the last 77 years. There is no TV on; not even the radio. My dog looks at me with confusion and concern. Can I wish for days when life was simpler and people kinder. Perhaps. As in the days of my grandparents, the Front Porch remains the first room of my home. I enjoy that as I wait for my loved ones to gather. The Front Porch was where she loved to sit the past couple of years to watch”the passing”. We’ll honor her passing as we remember my mother – Meme.