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On porches and peace
A Woman's View
Judi Tabler

I have always loved porches. I once thought I would have a screened-in porch some day.
But, living in this climate, I have become practical, realizing that it would need to be enclosed to accommodate air conditioning.
As I drive through towns, I look for screened porches. I love them.
Our house has an open front porch where I have placed two Adirondack rocker chairs and a table for my coffee or iced tea. I roost there early in the morning or later in the evening. It is an escape from the many stimuli in life.
Belle, the cat, has already adopted one of the chairs. She spends many nights in her chair. She even rocks the chair. Smart cat.
When I was a child, people took walks on sidewalks. I would ride my tricycle up and down the sidewalks in our block, greeting walkers, and waving at the people on the porches.
Families spent time sitting on their front porches especially in the evening. It was a common sight to see grandparents rocking on the porch chairs. The elderly population traditionally lived with their children when it became too difficult or expensive to live alone.
In those days, several generations lived in the same house. Today, the stresses of couples and families limits this practice. Back then, people were not as busy in the same way.
Women worked hard, but they were at home. A normal and healthy attitude prevailed that the younger generation would take care of the elderly. Children received guidance on manners and comportment from every generational age in the home. The grandparents helped.
Air conditioning was unheard of.
Cotton dresses were the popular women’s attire. Slacks would have been way too hot in the summer. Ice tea was a popular refreshment.
And during the evening, folks headed for the front porch where each took time to visit with one another. As they visited, some worked on their knitting or embroidery. The men could be seen smoking a pipe, or drinking a tall glass of cool-down comfort.
The word “porch” comes from the Latin “porticus” or Greek “portico”, both signifying the entrance to a temple.
Porticos evolved into vestibules, and later people began to deliberately build shaded verandas that allowed relief from the sun while letting the breezes blow freely.
However, as car transportation became more common, house builders reverted to building garages and patios and eliminating the porches.
Too bad. Honestly, we are due for a shift.
There’s a place for porches.
If nothing else, the porch says, “leave everything inside — the computer, cell phone, i-pad, and bring a cup of coffee, or a glass of ice tea, or a mint julep, and sit a spell.”
Listen to the birds. Pet the dang cat who thinks she owns the chair, pray, visit, contemplate, or just think of NOTHING.
Sounds appealing doesn’t it?
When you have time, drive around your lovely town and notice the porches. Think about how it “used” to be.
Where are the sidewalks? Nope, not there.
Where are the elderly? Nope, not there either.
Where are the family members? Nope. Watching TV?
The sidewalks are not considered a necessity. People don’t walk that much.
The elderly are marooned with others the same age, in comfortable convalescent homes. But many are lonely.
The family?
Well, the children are either working or engaged in a ball game. You see, we feel we need to entertain them or they might become bored.
Heaven forbid.
I want to feel bored. I am never bored.
But I plan to plant my sitter in the chair on the porch and see how long I can just sit there.
It might surprise me.

“A Woman’s View” is Judi Tabler’s reflection of her experiences and events. She is a wife, mother, writer, teacher, grandmother, and even a great grandmother. Contact Annie at pprarieannie@gmailcom