Maybe it’s the sun shining and at least momentary lack of rain. Maybe it’s because this has seemed like a very long week. But on Friday, all I could think about was sitting on the porch and watching the world go by.
Last week, my nephew graduated from Bradford High (congratulations, young Robert). My sister posted a picture on social media of him with my mother, on the front porch of my parents’ home.
An old friend, who now lives in Germany, commented, “So much time on that porch.”
He’s right. I have so many memories of time spent on that front porch, reading, playing, talking or just enjoying the breeze.
Never a fan of television, my mother would sit in a rocking chair on the porch with a book. The porch was where family gathered in nice weather. The porch light was the call that it was time to go inside at the end of the day.
Through the years, quietly sitting on that front porch, we watched as a deer made their way across the lawn, mere feet away. Lightning bugs, turkey, bear, porcupines, woodchucks, geese — we watched them all from the safety of that porch.
As children, we’d jump over the porch railing and down about five feet to the ground. When we felt especially adventurous, we’d climb back up over that railing.
There was a creaky old glider on the far end of the porch, with a flower box balanced on the railing behind it. My mother could grow anything, and the flower box would be filled with flowers or succulents or whatever we didn’t kill with Army men or toy cars.
I can still hear the screen door slamming over and over again as we’d run in and out of the house.
When I became a parent, I took my daughter over to her grandparents’ house as often as I could. My mother had a little baby pool she’d put on the porch and let my daughter splash around as long as she wanted. My father would bring toys outside and play on the porch with Emily, too.
Now, my father has been gone nearly 18 years, but my mother will still sit out on the porch and enjoy the breeze.
The house where I live now has a comfortable porch, and on nice days when I am in the office, I long to be sitting on that porch instead.
Perhaps it is because I am getting older, or maybe it’s because of losing four siblings, but I have been longing for the family connections from childhood.
One of my brothers had a home out in the woods years ago. For some reason, we devised a game where we’d pick up apples that had fallen off the trees around the yard, shove a stick inside the apple and see how far the apple would fly when we cast the stick like a fishing rod.
I’m unsure of what the object of the game was — distance? Hitting each other?
The deer enjoyed the game, because the apples were all over the place when we were done.
We’d also play croquet and badminton and volleyball and sometimes wiffle ball — until we started hitting each other with the bat and got yelled at by Mom … yes, as adults.
Sadly, those days are gone now, as we’ve all gotten older, are busy with work and obligations and in many cases, lost touch with one another.
A few days ago, one of my cousins reached out and I went over to visit. We see each other at family funerals, but never really make plans to just get together. We’d have get-togethers at our grandparents’ home when we were children, but when they passed away, the glue that held us together gave way, too.
So we’re trying to get the ball rolling for a reunion.
And my visit with my cousin has been on my mind. We are several years apart in age, and I never really knew him. I am enjoying the second chance. He’s no longer the weird kid with firecrackers trying to scare us all (sorry, Dave), but a pretty nice guy.
It kind of makes me wonder what they remember about me. Maybe I shouldn’t ask…
Marcie Schellhammer is the Era’s assistant managing editor. She can be reached at email@example.com