Saturday, July 28, 2007

Front Porch Theology...

This is a soothing, old-time song that takes me back to the front porch swing at my Grandparent's house. (I open the song in another tab and have it as background music. It adds a nice touch.) The photo isn't of their house, but it came as close to it as I could find on line. Of course, it wasn't 1903, but circa 1963-64. The "dog days" of summer...hazy and lazy.

With ice tea in our glasses or lemonade (homemade, as in hand squeezed lemons!) and ice cubes clinking like little bells...the air so "thick" and barely moving, we'd find our places on the "old gray porch." It was so humid the sunlight seemed to drip down the steps. The bees buzzing in the ivy behind the swing, the siren going off at noon for the little town to know it was 'time for lunch.'
Grandpa's bright red/orange geraniums in full bloom, dotted the gray wooden porch with color. Grandma telling us a story about Grandpa and Grandpa correcting it...and vice versa. A passerby would wave hello and ask: "Are ya keeping cool?" Grandpa would holler back "You betcha!" but, of course, no one was 'keeping cool' - the heat of July in Elgin Nebraska was oppressive as can be. There was no A/C and people had to sit on the porch to attempt to 'keep cool' and catch a bit of a breeze.

Back then people had time to get to know their neighbors and welcomed visitors unannounced. (Today, I have more friends on line across the country than I do across the street. Most of my friends are within driving distance, not next door. In fact, I barely know the names of most on our block. Not that I'm anti-social, but it's just "the way it is" in our transient neighborhood with backyard decks instead of front porches. The blessing and curse of technology and our individualistic "isolated" world.) In that little town, Grandpa walked to work every day, walked home for the big "noon meal" and then back to work and back home at days end. He kept trim and fit that way. He was the town dentist and lay minister of the Methodist Church. Grandma was the town librarian (hence my love for books.) I can still smell the wood and the mix of polish and old books. Many kids now, sadly, will never know the smell of old wood floors as so many are ripped up and replaced by faux wood or faux something. Not many buildings have that "worn, old, lived-in" smell.

It was not all 'sunshine and roses' and I don't want to paint it as more 'romantic' than it was either. I was from a broken home and there was a lot of pain in my heart and my brother's about that. But being at Nana's and Grandpa's was comforting, even if we did have to go to VBS (Vacation Bible School) for a week in the summer. I didn't like going to VBS that much, usually because it interrupted playing army or climbing trees (yes, I was a bit of a 'tomboy.') But once I was there, it was kind of nice. I just wasn't much for classrooms. I liked "class" outside better.

On that porch, Mom would rub my back or my head when I'd be tired and lay across her lap. Grandma would take an interest in me and my stories. Aunt Lucy would listen so patiently to my chattering. Grandpa would put his had on my knee and pat me...saying, "everything will be alright" if I was sad. That wide wooden porch, that creaked a bit here and there and seemed so much larger in my "little girl eyes," was where the best sound of all sounds happened, the sound of friendly conversation. Familiar voices that I hope to hear again in heaven. Soft at times, and then crescendo in boisterous, hearty laughter that would fill the air when Gramps or Uncle Art told a joke, or a funny story. I can almost hear them again while I type. Those dear, comforting voices are now only heard faintly in my mind.

I get nostalgic at times, and a little sad that life is no longer like that.
It will always be a very fond memory of mine, that old, big, gray front porch. That was where we learned about each other. Maybe we learned about a loving God there, too? I suppose we did, because to look back on that time, sitting on that porch, is to appreciate the love that made those days and evenings so special. And that love is what God is. I do wish we had a front porch. But it's okay. And you know what? It's going to be alright. One day it'll all be alright. One day, we'll be on a big front porch with the entire family of God, listening to familiar voices, laughter and the best voice and laughter of all, that of our Father.

Pardon me while I go make a glass of ice tea.



Joyful Catholics said...

From my friend, Kat, across "The Pond" - -

Oh Sus....that is so lovely and so heart wrenchingly close to my heart too. Thanks for guiding me into remembering such nice memories..Oh there are so many good things to remember in the midst of our pain. I must remember these memories when i get despairing thoughts invading my mind. To just go back to some nice time in my life and relive it again..ahhhh

And I say to me mate, "You're quite welcome, my bosom friend."

Joyful Catholics said...

How about if I move your computer out to the front yard and maybe you can meet the neighbors then? : ) You climbed trees?? I couldn't get you down from the roof even holding the ladder myself that 4th July on Leavenworth...I learned something new about you again. Nice story honey.

Your hubbybubby.