Both sets of my grandparents resided in the hills of southeastern Kentucky when I was growing up. Some of the best memories I have of them took place on their porches. This was the hot spot to gather in the evening after chores were done and family gathered in.
In the summer we watched lightning bugs rising out of the fields like fairy lights and listened to the sound of frog ponds and whip-oor-wills while our elders told stories to entertain or scare the daylights out of us. We heard tales of their grandparents, panthers, bears, haints, ghosts, and beasties. We would beg for the same stories over and over again, knowing we would be afraid to go to sleep that night.
It was a place where everyone was welcome. The cane bottomed chairs and rockers would fill up with adults and children would sit on the floor of the porch, on an empty bucket, or whatever could be found. It was a family gathering place. The lucky ones got to pile in the porch swing(s).
When the garden came in, it was a place to string and break beans, shuck corn, or peel peaches. A smart house had porches positioned to catch the morning and evening light and the coolest breezes in summer.
On rainy days the porch was a place where we played Mother, May I? Red Light-Green Light, Hully Gully, Rotten Egg, and Bob Jacks. We could watch the animals in the field and spy cars coming up the road in case we needed to let anyone know that company was coming. On sunny days, sometimes we would see who could jump the furthest off the end of the porch while we waited for adults to start coming out to the porch.
Porches were also the place where people shared their faith. They caught up on community news and passed on prayer requests about who was in need of prayer or of help from their neighbors. People bragged on the Lord and how good He had been to them in their life time. They talked about the day they got saved, or how the Lord helped them defeat the devil in some way. It was all as natural and as easy as breathing.
There was usually a metal bucket of fresh spring water and a community dipper. If you came thirsty, you’d have something to drink. If you came hungry, someone would go in and fix a plate of food and bring it out to you. If you were tired, you could rest. If you were burdened down, you could share those burdens. If you were weary, you could be strengthened in the presence of loved ones. Porches were always good in my memories.
I’m pretty sure that when I get to heaven, my mansion will have at least one porch.