Thursday, October 10, 2013

Throwback Thursday: The Front Porch

Ah, time for me to blog . . . as in it's been forever since I blogged and I actually have time to sit down and write.

Time is a funny thing; it can go by quicker than you realize and then another day, time just drags by as the minutes slowly click off the clock. You're young one day and the next day you wake up and you're forty, but it feels like you're still twenty-eight.
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I suspect like many families during a different time and place, my grandmother's front porch was a special place during the afternoons, evenings, and well into the darkness of most any night.

I remember as a child sitting on the edge of the porch, watching my feet dangle without touching the ground. Of course, I was relegated to a seat on the ground because there were only four, sometimes six, chairs on the front porch, two on each side of the front door on opposite sides of the porch and occasionally one or two in front of the window facing the street.

I recall my grandmother always sitting on the left-hand side of the porch (where, if you weren't careful, you could hit the person sitting next to her with the screen door). Maybe she sat in that somewhat-precarious spot because you could see all the people coming over the railroad tracks and down the street toward the house. And if they saw her sitting there, they'd stop by and visit for a while.

There were so many times I recall that everyone sat outside, visiting, feeling the breeze sweep across our faces while the younger-than-me kids ran around from the backyard to the front yard, playing chase games.

There were the Fourth of July festivities that we gathered for at my grandmother's house. Her house was perfectly situated to see the fireworks that they'd launch from Amigoland Mall, which was just a hop, skip, and drive over the old bridge to Matamoros. And there was that one Fourth of July (or maybe there were more) that my mother and her brothers (as adults) decided to launch fireworks from the empty lot across the street. Luckily no one burned anything down or got hurt in the process, but it does make me wonder the crazy stuff they did as children.

The kids would get sparklers, and we'd write our names in the sky with those. And then there was the watermelon. Grandma could cut (gut?) a watermelon like no one I've ever seen before or since. We'd all end up with these huge wedges of watermelon out of just one melon. How she did it, I don't know, and I still wonder in amazement (and shiver in fright) at her skill with a knife.

We'd all take our wedges of watermelon out on the front porch where we'd sit around the edge and spit the seeds out into the yard, waiting for the fireworks to start.

But what I remember most about her front porch--other than all the neighborhood and family gossip and meeting all kinds of family I'd never met before on that front porch for the first time--were the chairs. From year to year and season to season that woman only seemed to want a certain kind of chair on her front porch, replacing them only when they'd finally rust out.

I ran across similar chairs just this past week, and I was instantly taken back to sitting on grandma's front porch listening to the adults talk while I sat there and tried to piece together what they were saying.

I miss those days on the front porch . . . and how in my younger days and naivete thought there'd always be another visit on the front porch with grandma and my aunts and uncles.

And now all I have are memories and pictures of similar chairs . . .

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