I think front porches are the Eastern European grandmas of summer.
They invite you in, sit you down, encourage you to sip a cool drink, enjoy a snack and have a good, long chat with your neighbors.
I often think about our front porch and the book it could write. For 91 years that porch has stood sentry, its red bricks steeped in sunshine and stories.
Our porch predates the park it surveils by a whole decade and it often leverages that seniority with gentle admonishments. Slow down, it says. Relax. Watch your language, man. Be kind. Hey, now. That stop sign’s there for a reason.
Sometimes, I think those old red bricks roll their eyes. Other times, I swear I hear a chuckle.
I’m sure it remembers when my sister Jenny, then a furious four-year old, stomped out the front door and slammed it behind her. “I’m running away,” she announced. And I think that old porch hid a smile. Jenny paused out there where that wide familiar ground opens to the world around, and turned back toward the door, offended that no one from her family had followed. She rang the doorbell and, when my mom answered, Jenny asked her fiercely, “Well, aren’t you going to give me a ride?”
And when my sister Kathy, all cool and nearly 12, biked past as we all (grandparents included, as memory serves) lounged on that old front porch and, to her horror and our everlasting amusement, she got pulled over by a police officer for running a stop sign. She got a ticket in front of us all. For running a stop sign. On her bike.
All four of my children and their friends marked the first day of school by jumping off that old front porch and I like to think of it as a spring board to their future. (Sometimes I ask it if it really had to launch them so far.)
Our take-all-comers front porch has hosted lemonaid stands, and beautiful kids all dressed up for Homecoming, and carolers, and girls scouts selling cookies, and boy scouts selling popcorn, and Jehovah’s Witnesses, and politicians, and a whole bunch of delivery drivers.
More recently, we’ve been ending our days on that old front porch, enjoying an ice cream cone and greeting every dog that prances past.
I’m grateful for that porch, the people it protects and the memories we share.
I hope its 92nd summer turns out to be one of its best.