Gilmer Free Press

Jeanette Riffle: The Front Porch

The Free Press WV

I recently read an article which stated that Southerners love to spend time on the front porch. I will have to agree with that. Folks in other parts of the country may tend to stick to the backyard, but Southerners know that the front porch is the best place to congregate and to visit with neighbors passing by. It’s about hospitality. Our front porch is a long way from the road but we do wave to people we know as they pass by. I remember my folks going to the front porch every evening after supper to cool off. This was before we got a TV.  Dad would tell ghost stories when it got dark and Mom would tell Cedarville stories. My oldest brother and I would play with hoppy toads that came to the porch steps to catch bugs.  Of course our parents told us not to touch them because they would give us warts, but they never did. Another thing that I liked was all the different kinds of bugs that came to the porch walls at night;  hard shelled bugs, moths, granddaddy long legs, millers and I don’t know what all.

Dad told me to ask the granddaddy long legs where the cows were and it would start crawling towards them.  I did that just for fun but sure enough, it would take off crawling to the end of the porch that was towards the pasture field. I guess it was a coincidence but it happened every time.

On Sunday afternoons when company would pull in, the adults all sat out on the porch, until Mom went in to start supper and then the women went to the kitchen with her. Sometimes it was too hot to sit out there and we stayed inside by the fans.

We had a swing and after supper I would take my baby brother to the swing to entertain him until the kitchen cooled off enough for me to do dishes.  Mom, Dad, and the other boys would go to the gardens through the week after supper and Mom would tell me to stay and take care of the baby and clean the kitchen up. I have heard of people having front porch sings. Dad got me a piano when I was 12 and Mom taught me how to play chords as she had a pump organ when she was growing up. Dad took me to Glenville for piano lessons but I soon took off playing by ear. That was easier for me. We would gather around my piano and sing hymns.

Mom loved to sing and she taught me the three harmony parts that she did.

On rainy days or bad winter days when the weather was too snowy to play outside, my two older brothers would play Cowboys and Indians on the front porch. They had their toy cap guns and cowboy outfits.  We also hung the wash out there on clothes lines in winter. My Warner grandparents had an enclosed front porch at their house on Crooked Run.  I remember a little gas stove out there on the floor that kept us warm in winter and we could go out and watch it snow.

Until next time, take care of yourselves and God bless!

--> Wednesday, August 08, 2018
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