Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Front porch sitting

Well, if I had a front porch I'd be sitting on it right now instead of buried deep inside the house typing. But I don't. Newer houses tend not to have them and that's too bad. It's been front-porch weather this week and cutting the grass without worrying about the next thunderstorm is on today's agenda.

I'm cheating a little by including here a photo from the Lucas County Historical Society collection of Chariton's old Elijah Copeland house --- with a front porch. You can read a little more about the house and its former location by clicking here, as well as take a look if you like at photos from the society's June 18 arts and crafts fair.

As mentioned earlier, I had an invite Monday morning to a front porch party --- when was the last time you've been to one of those? It was a great event involving a dozen people or more on the porch of a grand old home that could have accommodated a couple of dozen more. Meg brought in raspberries picked that morning down on the old home place, now hers --- and I really appreciated that.

It was so pleasant, in fact --- sitting there visiting, eating and watching the world go by --- that the noon whistle sneaked up on us.

We got to talking Monday about how few people you see outside just sitting these days. Working, sure. But most of the time we're inside even when allocated time to relax --- watching television, playing with our computers, totally air-conditioned, cut off from our surroundings.

That grand old house offered some other lessons about how we once lived in the summer (although certainly not in most instances on that scale) --- The 11 main rooms have extremely high ceilings, the building is surrounded by trees and porches and that combination means little artificial cooling is required (the same cannot be said for winter heat, however).

The other thing about front porch sitting was that neighborliness was encouraged --- it just seems natural to wander over and sit and visit for a while if your neighbors are sitting outside just sitting, too.


The other question of the day is, where the heck did June go to? They'll begin blocking off parts of the square fairly soon for July 4th celebration --- not quite on the scale it used to be when I was a kid, but still nice. For some reason, we always seemed to be putting up hay on the 4th, but always managed to get cleaned up, organized and into town for an hour or so of carnival rides and greasy food before the fireworks. This always was especially interesting to me as a very little kid because carnival rides always made my dad sick, so it was never a question of if, but when ...

The down side to all of that, however, was that summer seemed to be on the wane after the 4th --- and sill does. And we've barely begun to enjoy it.

The Sunday morning church service on the courthouse lawn is another thing I enjoy, but even that has its perils. There are congregations that won't participate because they're afraid they'll miss out when the collection plate is passed (although those who attend are invited to designate a recipient for their offerings) and others who firmly believe they'll go straight to hell if caught worshipping with Methodists, ELCA Lutherans, Episcopalians and the like. But it all works out.

I suppose it's always been that way up to a point. My granddaddy always used to say he'd just as leave not go if he seriously throught there'd be Methodists in heaven, but still ....

1 comment:

Ed said...

I've always felt that many of the world's problems can be pegged directly on the lack of community among neighbors and if I had to pick a handful of causes of that lack of community, the demise of the front porch would be one of them. When I get my dream home built, it is going to have an extremely large porch.