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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Front Porch Settin'

Some friends of mine triggered this thought in my mind and so I thought I would share a few memories of my experiences with "Front Porch Settin'".

First off, let me tell you how proud I am to have grown up in an era where neighbors helped neighbors, you never saw a stranger (unless they were a reven-noor). If a car came up the road with an out of county or out of state plate you knew exactly who they were and where they were going.

Back in the hills of Tennessee when I grew up my parents and grandparents were hard scrabble farmers. We made a living on the land. Almost everything we ate came from our own hard work. We had corn and tobacco crops for cash and raised a big garden for food, We also had chickens and a couple of pigs.

In the spring summer and fall months a lot of our time was spent on the front porch. Early in the morning we would go to the garden and pick whatever there was ready to pick. The basic preparing was done by the whole famiy while settin' on the porch. If it was peas we would be shellin', if it was beans we would be stringing' and breakin', if it was corn you might catch us "shuckin'" or apples we'd be a peelin'. You might find us shelling corn to take to mill to have it ground into cornmeal.

A lot of visiting was also done on the front porch. One of the neighbors might be walking or driving by and come up on the porch to "set a spell". My aunt and uncle would come every week to visit and have supper with us. Other relatives might stop in for a visit especially on Sunday afternoons. Sometimes we would have a great big family dinner when lots of folks stopped by.

In the cool of the evening you would find us settin' there just resting. A gentle breeze would be blowing and the smells of the honeysuckle and other flowers would waft across the porch. Around dusk the lightning bugs would begin to appear. The kids would all be off to catch them in a jar. Or we might be playing a game of Whoopee Hide. One person was IT and had to hide his eyes and count to a specific number. The rest of us would hide in the shadows. When IT got to the designated number he would try to find us before we got safely back to the porch. The person who was caught or the last person on the porch was IT for the next game.

On Saturday night after our "weekly baths" (yes it was in the wash tub). The water in the tub was used to wash the porch so it also would be clean for Sunday Morning.

The picture below (circa 1952) is one of my great memories. It was a Sunday afternoon and my cousin Ruth from Bristol TN had come to visit and brought her new husband (pictured) to introduce him to us. From left to right standing is my Aunt Bonnie, Virgil Booher, my cousins husband, My mother, my sister Faye, and sitting on the porch around my grandmother is myself (with the barette) my cousin Gene, my grandmother Alice Swift, my sister Ann and my sister Mae (twin to Faye).

Reflections of simpler times and happy memories filled my thoughts today.

And in the words of my Father, "That's it for today".


Sandra said...

Great story, Jenny. It sounds so much like my own childhood.

Joe and Sherri said...

Life was good in those days JJ. I was brought up in those times and things were so much simpler. I want to get back to that time when you could solve all the world problems setting on the porch. I hope you Sherri and I spend those times on a porch Somewhere in Time.


Scott Gad said...


Oh, the memories. I grew up in El Paso, TX and I think as a hangover from the great Depression (well before my time) my mother's extended family lived all over town. All of grandma's brothers and sisters, their kids and grandkids, my mother's sisters and their families. I was surrounded by first and second cousins and all sorts of other relatives whose relationships were so distant there may not be names to describe them. When we had a 'big' family picnic, we usually required a whole park for the occasion, which didn't happen often--enough.

But on Sundays we and my aunts, uncles, and cousins would often gather at our grandparents' home for Sunday supper. I still remember (and greatly miss) the home made southern fried chicken and grandmas' made-from-scratch cherry cobblers. And the games my brothers and cousins would play!


Dee & Jim said...

That's great memories! I too sat on the porch to shell the peas, snap the beans and peel the corn husks. Thanks for memory lane, that was the good ole days.

arlenemsully said...

Loved your story Jenny. What good memories to have. Life is just so different today....
Thanks for sharing.