Do you remember the last time you set on your front porch and watched the sun come up, or the sun go down? How about while you shelled some beans, or even read a book? Whiling away an afternoon, praying as your cares just drifted away on the breeze of the day. Sometimes settin’ on the porch was an invitation to your neighbors to come set a spell. They would walk up, you would say, ‘set down and take a load off.’ They might would, but they might just lean against your railing. What they did was sometimes a clue as to your relationship with your neighbors. If they sat, they were good friends, if they leaned they weren’t quite good friends, but they were neighborly. If they just stood at the rail, still in the yard, they either wanted something or wanted to say something to you (not always nice). Then there were those that would set on the steps leading up to the porch. They were usually in need of a hug, a good ‘listener’, or just an encouraging word.
Front porch chairs didn’t have to match, even an old crate would do. They had to be facing the road, never turned toward another. You had to be able to see who was going by, or see who was coming up. It was a social event, never to be taken lightly. Front porch settin’ was an art form. It was pure, it was beautiful. It was about life. Lessons were learned on the porch, decision were made on the porch, you could even expect a proposal on the porch once in a while, especially if there were a swing involved. LIFE happened on those porches and in those chairs.
One of my strongest memories is of a front porch settin’. I was at my Aunt Peggy’s. She was babysitting me and I wanted to go home really bad. I wasn’t one much for spending the night away from my parents. Guess I was a baby about things like that. It had been one night already and it was morning. I asked Aunt Peggy, for the umpteenth time when Mom and Daddy were coming to get me. I guess she had heard it enough by that time of morning so she told me I could just set on the porch and wait for them if I wanted to. I went to the steps of the front porch (see explanation above about what that meant) and sat down. I was ‘willing’ them to come driving up, but nope. It had been about 2 hours I reckon and I was hot, thirsty and so lonely. I didn’t understand at the time that Aunt Peggy was just waiting for me to give up on waiting. Well, I didn’t. Soon enough though she came outside and sat with me. She didn’t say much, she just put her arm around and hugged me close. The only words she said were ‘sometimes when you are lonely feeling, God is trying to get you to think about Him and how much He loves you.’ I have never forgotten that. She impacted my life at that moment, on that Front Porch, in a way that I will never forget. No, my parents didn’t come right away, and yes, I sat there for a long time pining away for them, but the next time I was lonely, I thought about God, and how much He loves me.
That’s what front porch settin’s are for. So, if you have a front porch, turn those chairs toward the road, ask your neighbors to set a spell, or take a load off. Give wisdom to those in need, and remember, a front porch is where life happens.