When we had our house built 15 years ago, one thing I really wanted was a great big wrap-around front porch. I envisioned it like my very own Cracker Barrel, a place where I’d sit and rock while waiting to be called in for supper.
I pictured myself as the character Maudie Atkinson from my favorite book, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Miss Maudie spent her days working in her flowers, but “after her 5 o’clock bath, would appear on her front porch and reign over the street in magisterial beauty.”
Unlike Scout Finch, I was ready to enter the world where “fragrant ladies rocked slowly, fanned gently, and drank cool water.” Ok, well, I was planning to drink something a little more potent than water.
It never occurred to me that a family of busy Savages might curtail these picturesque dreams.
Typically, we are on the go. There’s always some practice, game, lesson, meeting, or camp to go to. Frequently, we rush home from work, try to eat supper together, and move on to various activities, often in different directions. In years past, there’s been little time for front porch sitting.
I read an article from a few years ago about the lost art of porch sitting. The author surmised that “people like the idea of porch sitting, but don’t do it much anymore. Our days are too crowded to sit a spell.”
She went on to say, “I believe we could live much simpler, leisurely lives if we revived the lost art of sitting on the front porch.”
That was in 2018. In 2020, there was COVID. Our governor told us it was safer to stay at home. All our Savages’ camps, sports and lessons were canceled. Suddenly we found ourselves unbusy.
For the first time in a long time, we had nowhere to be. We had plenty of time to just be. Thus, finally, after 15 years, there’s some serious front porch sitting happening at the Savage home.
And, I love it.
Recently, my friend asked if I wanted to join her for an evening walk. I declined saying, “Well, I’d like to, but at 5, I like to start sitting on my front porch for happy hour.” I explained I’d become accustomed to spending my evenings rocking in my front porch rocker while reading a good book and drinking some wine.
I enjoy looking up to see the robins in the yard and the deer in the woods. I listen for the hummingbirds and watch the bats fly overhead. It’s a happy few hours.
I stay out there until it grows too dark to read, and the whippoorwill comes out. At first, I thought its call was endearing, but after a few nights of a very loud, shrill “Whip-Poor-Will” right outside our windows, I can understand why their population is declining.
However, I guess it’s only fitting that this is the summer it decided to come calling each night. After all, it’s the first summer I’ve successfully fulfilled my dreams of sitting on my front porch like Miss Maudie Atkinson.
In the evenings, she endured the songs of a mockingbird, and hence, I guess I’ll endure the whippoorwill.