Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Porch and It's Swing, the Family's Social Facilitators

 When I think of Thanksgiving the traditional cuisine immediately comes to mind. Very soon after visualizing the turkey though comes the family and spending time after our meal on the front porch. In my previous posts I have alluded to my family, particularly the maternal half of the family, and the memories I have with my grandparents and the high quality of life I've enjoyed through the time spent with them. Now Dad's side is wonderful and my brother and I have just as many cousins, aunts, and uncles on Dad's side as on Mom's side. Dad's side gave me Grammy and Grampy, whom you may remember from the first post. On Mom's side, however, my brother and I have more cousins about our age and therefore we all really grew up together. Nana and Papa's house has hosted us at Sunday Dinners and many, many holidays. Their vegetable garden acts as the family's green grocer come summertime. And Nana and Papa's house, a big old Victorian, has a long front porch featuring a legendary porch swing!
   A porch swing is a wonderful type of social facilitator. You can sit on one and watch the world pass by. You can have a quick talk with neighbors passing by walking their dogs. You can enjoy the breeze on a hot summer afternoon. You can swing on a porch swing! I don't know who created the porch swing, but God bless whoever made them available to the masses.
  Nana and Papa's porch swing is rather ancient. My cousin Eric and I have sometimes speculated it being original to the house. The chains are rusty and everytime a couple of us sit on the swing we know we may end up on the floor. But, honestly, the story about the two cousins sitting on and breaking the porch swing would make for a funny and popular story at our house!
 The porch and porch swing are used in every season. I've sat on that porch during springtime rainstorms and to watch the leaves fall from the trees in the autumn with Nana by my side. Manys the time a group of us has sat out on the porch enjoying the swing and eating our fast melting ice cream during the summer. On Christmas Eve the porch acts as a smoking room for those in the family enjoying celebratory cigars.
 Porches and porch swings really are part of our American scene. Shockingly though, some people with porches are without porch swings! That's a shame. Rocking chairs are pretty decent substitutes, but very few rocking chairs, aside from those bulky looking "rocking benches," can fit two people at a time. I do love the rocking chair, but a porch swing is a must in my mind if you've got a decent sized front porch. So next Spring, pick up a porch swing as part of your home improvements. You won't regret it.
 In closing, I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your dinner and your friends and family. Be thankful for what you have and those who have fought and fight to make certain our "Freedom from Want" is preserved. Enjoy the spilling of dishes and glasses, the staining of tableclothes, and the yelling at the TV. All those little things are part of the wonderful tradition we call Thanksgiving.

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