The front porch at the LEAD Agency office is burnishing re-painted metal chairs and a settee, JoAnn Walkup gifted us. There we can have a morning coffee and await the Postman or see who will drop by and check out what's in the Little Free Library out by the sidewalk.
There is a lot that can be shared on a front porch. The art of dialog could have been born there and could be revived. Lots of people may be out on their own front porches dealing with grief and missing the partners who had long sat with them. Reach out in some way to the people in your life. Start a conversation. We are out of practice.
Lots of memories were made on front porches, but I made a new one this evening, when sitting out on Barbara Smith's, watching the traffic pass by on Central, but actually it was much easier to hear it go by, since there do not seem to be any limit or discretion used when exerting every effort to enlarge the sound of the engines as they passed.
But memories were actually what I heard as she shared with me about long summers with her grandparents. There is a way we remember, maybe it works for you in one of these ways, I tend to remember with sort of slide-show of images that had frozen a moment, or as Barbara who sees the images connected like short pieces of a self-made movies from the past that can surprise you with what had once been forgotten shows up again in great clarity.
We sat and reminisced, about childhood experiences and then traveled on to the teachers. My mind took me to a 6th grade teacher who gifted me with poetry, to love it, to memorize it and then actually gifted me with a volume she had embossed with my very own name on the front. But the poem that jumped out of course was the House by the Side of the Road by Sam Walter Foss.
I see from my house
by the side of the road,
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife.
But I turn not away from their smiles nor their tears-
Both parts of an infinite plan;-
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.
The teachers she and I we worked with, she revealed only now how some had been her friends since college. The powerful team of professionals MHS had assembled, the students who touched our lives then and continue to reach out and include us in theirs as if no time had separated us. Memories will be made soon as the school year begins with brand new MHS and Jr. High experiences for those attending and certainly for those teaching there.
But her grandmother stories brought my own grandmother stories to mind, and how summers were hot and long back then too and boy we experienced that heat so more intensely than we do now as we escape it leaping from one air conditioned venue to the next, from home to car and back as if knowing it deeply again is forbidden. The climate is changing and the earth is heating up and we are doing it, we humans. But aren't we adding to it with all the energy we use to make it seem to not be happening, as we cool those of us who can afford to, and ignore the whole continents of people who have little chance to cool at all.
Barbara and I ended up talking about the Initiative Petition, but it led us to color and hope and the softness of shirts and as the day had cooled slightly and the bit of breeze could be felt, I collected the book shared because reading is another thing hot summers can allow. And one her grandmother had implanted her with, the joy of reading and the magic places those books can take us.
But nothing is as real or as entirely magical than time spent on a front porch, looking way off and traveling back in memory to the places our minds take us.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim