“Come sit a spell.” These old words lapsed into disuse for the decades of manufacturing and “jobs in town,” the decades after the farm. But now, thankfully, porches are reappearing on houses and the invitation to share them is back in our vocabulary.
When Bill and I first built our colonial house in the early 60’s, the “porch” was basically a façade barely wide enough to accommodate the pillars and a lawn chair. Our children grew up tumbling down our hillside and fishing in “Gaither’s Pond,” but there wasn’t much porch-sitting going on.
Just before we learned our first grandchild was on the way, however, Bill and I said to each other one day, “Why don’t we build a real porch, upstairs and down?” So we called a builder to explore the possibility of moving the pillars out about 12 or 15 feet, turning two of the upstairs windows into doors, and making porches accessible to both downstairs living and upstairs guest bedrooms.
Now the porch is like a special summer room, with lots of rocking chairs and conversations. People who used to hurry by afraid they were “putting us out” when we invited them inside, quickly accept an invitation to have a lemonade on the porch. At night when the grandchildren are in their pajamas, we make tea and take snacks upstairs on the porch which feels like a treehouse. We listen to the frogs and cicadas and watch garden spiders crocheting lace between the white porch rails.
I take my journal and coffee to the porch very early in the morning to talk to God and hear the world coming to life for a new day. When the kids who have spent the night awaken, we eat scrambled eggs and fruit at the little glass table and talk each other’s legs off while the tulips, geraniums and impatiens watch us from the garden that edges the porch steps and the black squirrels chase each other through the limbs of the maples and oak trees in the yard.
Oh! The joy of porches! No house should be without them. If the world is alienated and people are lonely, maybe porches can be the catalyst for bringing us together again.
Come. Sit a spell!