Sunday, May 21, 2006


my friend giselle got me to thinking about porches. she wrote about sitting on her front porch with a good book and the breeze and all kinds of lovely imagery...

so everyone who lives in this area knows how awesome the weather has been. i mean, dang. like early spring when it should be like living in a steam bath. so we had The Availables over last night to watch a movie (i always want Steel Magnolias, but can never get an amen from the men-- what is that?) in the yard and strung up lights on the front porch and the tons of food (caroline, all your stuff is clean and i'm bringing it over this week) and hung out there all night. don pulled out the bb gun with bryan and josh and seth, and then bobby and casey and kevin joined them and they played some soccer all across our huge front yard, and the end of the night found a group of us sitting on the front porch telling stories. the storm that was predicted never came, but we saw lighting in the east and the breeze was perfect and i love the south.

what is it about porches? you know, all these little houses are being thrown up around here, each exactly like its neighbor (cute enough, sure), but all without front porches. now, my porch is not big at all. but it's there, and i think about the historic area in our town and the possibilities for community that come with porches. i remember my grandparents' big front porch with my cousins and aunts and uncles and talking to people as they took walks in front of their house while the kids played some demented form of tag in the front yard (seriously, one of our games was called "kill the man with the ball"), and in later years, my precious brother and i would bring the guitars out and we'd sing hymns and a thousand other songs ("me and bobby mcgee"-- oh yeah), wiping sweat off our foreheads and drinking sweet tea and swatting mosquitos (fortunately, the cigarette smoke kept most of them away-- porches really make me miss smoking sometimes...).

there's something intentional about front porches. you are all choosing to sit there for a reason. we experience it at salem campground in the summers, sitting for no practical reason on porch after porch, just wandering from cabin to cabin, talking for a minute, eating popsicles, holding babies and catching up. porches, to me, are invitations to come sit down for a little while, swing or rock and be quiet together or sing and talk.

sigh. i loved last night. i loved the way the grass was so green in our yard and the grass in the field across the way was dark, the field so huge. i loved the darkness of a soon-to-be-stormy summer sky in the early evening looked, threatening (emptily) to pour down on us. i loved the clusters of people, standing and sitting, talking and laughing, eating grapes and playing tag and just being together with no agenda. these are the sort of pointless, dreamy nights that memories are made of -- the things that define "being southern" to me.

we're doing it again real soon. if you're in town, you should come over :)

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