As a child, I can't think of any house that didn't have a front porch, and sometimes, even a back porch. This blog post, however, is about front porches and their rich entertainment, legacy. Now, the house that I lived the longest in had a porch that ran the entire length of the house ... it was quite long.
Now, porches must have some interesting history though I've not taken the time to research their origins. I'll just go with what I know. Our porches were always plain – void of any big comfy chairs, swings, or toys for the kids to tumble over. For a long time, I thought that was the way a porch was supposed to look until I saw some of our neighbors porches.
I suppose a covered, front entryway is actually a porch and does serve some purpose. When someone arrives at your house, it would probably look, seem, and feel odd for them to stand on the steps and the next part of the house is the front door. I can't imagine that, so a porch is a temporary waiting area especially for strangers or neighbors who knock on your door and need a place to stand until the door is opened. This area is also a place for sitting and entertaining and a place where beautiful plants and flowers are displayed. Our porch, during springtime, became a flower show for all the beautiful daffodils I'd picked along the road.
My grandmother's porch was special, and hers was by far my favorite place to hang out. Since Grandma's house sat a little high off the ground, so did her porch. Actually, it was the perfect height for a tall kid (like me) or an adult to perch anywhere on the edge of the porch. So, if it was porch-sitting weather and grandma had us grand kids over and company too, everybody simply made themselves at home on the edges of her stately porch.
While her porch didn't have fancy hanging plants or designer chairs, it did have a large, comfy chair (which my grandfather usually sat in) and a stationary, three-seater that as many of us kids as possible tried to pile into when we visited her house.
And, last but not least, she had another three-seater – a real, live, ready-to-go swing. This was my favorite chair to lounge in while at grandma's. I also liked her porch because it faced the west and on nice, warm sunny days, the evening sun lovingly massaged my back as I sat there enjoying the scenic wood and everything else "country."
By and large, though, the most fun thing I did while sitting in the swing was eat grandma's homemade tea cakes and see how fast and high the swing would go with breaking its chains. I can just see myself swinging back and forth, taking big bites of my cookie, lips smacking, crumbs dropping, and having the time of my life. To say I miss the comfort of front porches is an understatement.
Now, here is my question for you. Is a porch a porch even if it doesn't have a swing? Umm ... perhaps, but I'm not sure it's a "real" porch, but it is a porch, by a loose definition, but one that needs a little sprucing up to bring it up to standard. Now, once the swing is added, then, it becomes my version of a "sure enough" real, down-home, Southern porch.