According to Phillip Gulley, a Quaker pastor in Indiana, “All manner of lessons were learned on the front porch. When the porches went, so did the stories and the wisdom with them.” Now this may be a little simplistic, but there is some truth in it. Gone are the days when we had time in the late afternoons or early evening to sit and relax on the front porch, lemonade or iced tea in hand, watching the neighborhood go by, learning the latest gossip and news, sharing lives and stories. Gone, really, are the days of even having a front porch… and if you’re lucky enough to have one, it probably stays empty. Nowadays we are so busy with work, running the kids to various activities, and being connected to the many types of electronic equipment designed to make our lives easier or to amuse us. Where’s the time to kick back and just be, to really connect with our family, friends and neighbors?
Phillip Gulley is the author of a number of delightful books designed to slow you down and remind you of “good old days” in small-town America… even if you’ve never experienced that. Porch Talk is his latest book, but if you don’t want to hear a little about his politics I’d suggest Front Porch Tales — real life, down-home, heart-warming essays that are simple, amusing, and wise. Both books are like the Chicken Soup series but with added spice. For more spice, there’s Patricia McKissack’s creative Porch Lies, a series of tall tales based on the stories she heard on the porch as a child of the black South.
If you’ve got a front porch or even a front stoop, take the time to sit out there some evenings, sipping iced tea or enjoying a popsicle, and get connected… with yourself, your family, your neighborhood.