By Cindy Putnam Smith
Much of our growing-up days centered around the front porch. Mama made sure it was swept clean every morning. Days as a child were spent there playing dolls, jack stones or marbles. Making mud pies in the dirt next to the porch, resting there with dirty feet after a long bike ride. Playing church, as we would sing, preach, testify and shout. It was a place Mama and Daddy would sit and read the Bible, and where we would enjoy reading books from the library.
The front porch was a place to sit and shell peas, break beans and silk corn. A place for a young couple to get acquainted or “court” as they used to say. A place where that first kiss might have been snuck by the front door. A place where company gathered and babies, then later grandbabies, were rocked.
The porch was the gathering place for our family. After supper from the good ol’ vegetables we worked on earlier in the day and the work for the day was finished, we would all eventually end up on the porch.
Soon the “night sounds,” as Mama called them, would start. Katydids, frogs and whatever lurked beyond the yard. The blinking of lightening bugs would cause us to find a fruit jar and try to fill it to sit by our bed that night.
Neighbors all around gathered on their porches. There was no air conditioning, so everyone tried to catch a little breeze when they could. Quiet talk from the porches around. Stories being shared of the past, testimonies being told of how many times the Lord had met our needs, talk of those already gone and the promise we had to join them again.
Many goodbyes were spoken from the front porch, but always with a promise. “Be careful and we’ll see you later.”
Sounds of those nights are forever etched in memory. Life is passing fast. We need to slow down, talk of the promises of the Lord, tell again of the testimonies of the past and perhaps get a jar and catch a lightening bug.