Appalachia

Porches

Sitting on the porch

So many good ‘porch’ comments were left on the post Appalachia Through My Eyes – Of An Evening that I thought I should share them.

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Roy Pipes said: Tipper – Anymore, we don’t do enough relaxing in the back yard or the front porch swing. I remember Daddy sitting on his porch swing, and neighbors seeing him there would stop and visit. Now, with air conditioning neighbors, not knowing if we’re busy – don’t stop.

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Ken Roper said: Tipper, Granny and Pap look so relaxed in the cool of the evening shade. You’re a fortunate gal to have grown up there. Our house was always on the North Side of the mountain and it cooled off real nice when the sun crossed over. Daddy must have planned it that way, cause it sure was nice sitting in the shade after supper and a hard day’s work. About 3 nights a week our chickens (roosting in a laural hell in back of the house) would start squawking and off the porch our 4 fiests would go. They’d spot that booger in just a few minutes and daddy showed us how to shake that ole possum out. Most of the time he never made it to the ground, but that way we saved a bullet. It’s funny how a picture can trigger old memories…Ken

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Ed Ammons said: Where I come from, this time of the year, when the shadders started to creep, it was back to work and work til you can’t see how. We would get up at daylight, have breakfast then out to the field. Long about ten we would knock off for the morning and “get out of the sun.” The youngins might go wadin in the branch or swinging on a grapevine. The older folks might sit on the porch and rock and just sit and talk and fan themselves and swat flies. Somebody might be stretched out acrost the porch taking a nap. Dinner would be whatever was left over from breakfast or whatever you could scrounge up. It’s too hot to eat anyway! Then along about the time your pictures shows Granny and Pap lounging, it’s back to the field til about dark. Mommy hollers “SUPPERS READY” and we all go in to eat.

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Judith said: I was just talking to our granddaughters Sunday about the value and the memories attached to porch and back yard settin’. Both sets of my grandparents had big porches on their houses. There was alot of living that happened on those porches. I’m carrying on that tradition, workin’ on fruits and vegetables, eatin’, singin’, star gazin’, lightnin bug and various critter watchin’, and on the rare occasion a nap can be caught. My youngest is a bit impatient and she thought blowin’ bubbles and porch sittin’ was a little bit “boring” until I told her how much I wish that I could go back and set on the porch with my grandparents again. Some day Lord willin’ I can. Take the time and enjoy while you can.

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Jim Casada said: As a boy, our evening retreat in summer was the back porch. There was many a bushel of beans strung and broken there. In cooler weather, we tended to gather around the radio, especially when some of the family favorites such as Gunsmoke were on.

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All those comments made me want to spend more time on my own porch.

Tipper

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23 Comments

  • Reply
    Charles Howell
    August 6, 2019 at 1:07 am

    My Grandparents lived in Robbinsville North Carolina. In the late 1940s my family would visit and I remember; the Jersey cow, two pigs, chickens, dogs, cats and more, but most importantly, I remember the porch. It wrapped around from the front to the side kitchen entrance and seemed huge to us children. The frontPorch faced a main road which led to”Town” and Snyders General Store. We would sit on an old sofa, there were two, and wave to each passerby. This would go on for hours, so much fun for kids. The side porch held Grandma’s Washing machine a bench with two square tubs; the works. The machine was powered by a gasoline engine which had a foot “kick starter,” like a motorcycle and Grandma Polly’s Foot was more than adequate to get that thing going. The drain flowed to the street along a shallow ditch. We sailed many a toy boat in this stream. There was an Ice Box beside the Washer, which was loaded with a large block of ice regularly. I recall a “Spring House” but no refrigerator inside. We snapped beans, shucked corn. peeled peaches (Grandma made Peach Butter from the peels.) Most of all I remember Grandma’s story telling. The children would sit very close to her and to each other on the old sofa as she told one after another. My favorites would scare the Devil himself. The “Sack Man” who grabbed mean children and carried them off in his bag. ” Red handled Butcher Knife” stained, of course by blood. There were tales of Graveyards and Ghosts that made weird sounds and chased people at night. There was an old Indian Grave on the hill close by and “Soco”. was not to be disturbed by noisy children. On and on, the pleasures of visiting Grandma and Grandpa as a Child were part of a never ending story which I love to tell. Tanks for listening. Chuck Howell

  • Reply
    Chuck Howell
    July 23, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    If There ain’t no Porches in Heaven, I don’t wanna go……….Well maybe that’s a little Hasty, but Heaven is probably one big Porch with Banjo Music.

  • Reply
    dolores
    July 27, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    There is nothing more relaxing than sitting on a porch in a rocking chair with a good book or working on your knitting. Ah! So peaceful listening to the critters in the forest!

  • Reply
    RB
    July 25, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    Our house had a front and side porch way back before we moved there. It went to ruin, and someone tore it down. Dad restored it long after most of us were gone, but what I remember most was sitting in a porch swing strung on a galvanized pipe between two trees. It was cool there, and that’s where we spent a lot of evenings, those that could fit on the swing (2 adults or 3 children across) with the rest strewn out on lawn chairs. We shucked many ears of corn and snapped many a bean there, and sometimes, we just sat and swung and talked. And if it was raining or bad weather, it was around the kitchen table we all sat and visited.
    I feel sorry for today’s kids out on missing stuff like that. I doubt many could just sit and take a deep breath and listen to the birds and bees without clickety clacking on an electronic gizmo of some kind. Yep, and I feel sorry for them, for what they’re missing.
    Know what I mean?
    God bless.
    RB
    <><

  • Reply
    Tipper
    July 25, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    Glynda-If you put Queen Annes Lace in colored water-the flowers will turn the color of the water : ) So you can have red-green-blue-or whatever flowers!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    July 25, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Tipper,
    When I was a little bitty feller
    about 5 year old, it was my job to carry water for my older brothers and their friends working in the corn field above the house. I was mostly in the way when it came to
    gardening cause I didn’t know the
    difference between corn and a
    ragweed a growing. But we had an
    awfully cold spring just below
    the field and I carried water in
    a 2 gallon bucket. That was the
    drinkinest bunch I ever saw and
    I was told more than once not to
    leave the dipper at the spring.
    In the cornfield about every 40
    feet was a row of rocks, we’d
    piled up over the years and that
    thing was full of copperheads. If they strayed from the rockpile, our fiests would sling
    the stuffings out of ’em. They
    had all been bit and got smart.
    So they’d circle a snake till he
    struck and one dog from the other side would grab him. All
    you had to do was shut your eyes
    and it was all over soon. Crap
    went everywhere!
    Times have changed so much, my
    girls or grandchildren never got
    to experience these things…Ken

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    July 25, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Tipper,
    Every day I try to take time to go and sit in my outside building, just to listen to the creek running, and watch the cats sharpen their claws on my stovewood. They prefer the locust because of it’s
    thick bark. I can hear the crows
    squawking on the nearby mountains,just waiting for my corn to ripen. And soon as the sun goes down I can flip bunches
    of Japanese Beetles into a solution of water and dishwashing
    liquid. Those minnows and trout
    are waiting anxiously for their
    daily treet of bugs…Ken

  • Reply
    Glynda Chambers
    July 25, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Tipper I’m curious about the picture with jars of Queen’s Anne’s Lace in colored water, is there a reason for the colored water! By the way my mouth was watering at hearing about all the blackberries you all picked. Today my granddaughter and I drove all over the Edneyville and Hendersonville area and not a blackberry to be found. We were so disappointed.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 25, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    My only memory of three out of four grandparents involves porches. My grandfather Ammons died eight years before I was born and I’ve never even seen pictures of him. My grandfather Breedlove died two years before I was born but I have seen pictures of him. He was sitting on the porch rail. I have pictures in my mind of Grandma Ammons sitting on our porch with her purse in her lap. We would beg for Sen-Sen candy which we knew she always kept in that big purse. She would dig in there and come out with those tiny pieces of licorice flavored candy. She died when I was eight.
    Grandma Breedlove outlived the rest of my grandparents by almost forty years. The last time I went to see her before she died she was sitting on her porch. Her house had a porch that wrapped around three sides. The kitchen porch was screened in and had plastic covering it in cold weather. Grandma practically lived out there except in the dead of winter. She would sit there in front of a window where she could look in and see her cookstove. When she had visitors that’s where she met them and entertained them.
    The front porch was one of my favorite places to play. It had a door that opened into the front room but we weren’t allowed to come in or go out that way. If we went in we had to go through the kitchen, I guess so Grandma could inspect us.
    The lower porch was rarely used. It was actually misnamed. It was about six or seven feed off the ground. I was scared to go around there because for a little kid it was pretty high up but also there might be spiders, snakes, lizards and hornets back there.
    The best place of all to play at Grandma’s wasn’t on the porch, it was under it. Grandpa had a lot of farm tools and such that he kept under the porch where it was high enough. Most of them were still there ten years after he died. A source of amazement for little boys. What little mountain boy hasn’t seen a pair of horses hames and imagined them as guns?
    Porches were air conditioners, food preparation and preservation centers, family and community gathering places, spillover dining areas for the kids, retirement homes for old dogs and cats and Grandmas, but most of all a storage place for old memories!

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    July 25, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    We had a porch and we spent a lot of time there swinging in that old porch swing. There was a big willow tree that draped over that corner of the porch and always provided great shade. Lots of beans were snapped, peas shelled, corn shucked,and okra cut on that porch. There was also a lot of conversation going on. “Of an evening” us kids would run in the yard and catch fire flies and play hide and go seek. Directly in front was our big garden and mom and dad would talk about how the garden was doing and what had to be done the next day. It was a peaceful place and one of many memories.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    July 25, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    When I was a little fella, we lived in a small house with a front porch that was probably 6 feet x 8 feet. All of our neighbors had similar-size porches, but it didn’t matter. Neighbors gathered at one house with chairs in the warm weather and we just spilled out into the yard. Cranked homemade ice cream (remember the White Mountain Triple-Action Ice Cream Freezers and using Grandmother’s old quilts to cover the freezer while the ice cream took its final set?), kids played tag or badminton or croquet while adults sat around and jawed. Those were great times…

  • Reply
    Tamela
    July 25, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Ohhhh – Porches!! and porch swings!!! and Rocking Chairs!!
    – – watching lightning bugs or a real lightning storm.
    – – eating watermelon and seeing who could spit the seeds the farthest from the porch.
    – – cracking and picking pecans with my grandparents.
    – – helping my Granny (great grandmother)do her laundry with a scrubbing board, or helping either grandmother or my mother wash clothes with the roller washing machines (got my arm stuck in the rollers once – – ouch!)
    – – cranking homemade ice cream or sitting on a mound of blankets and rag rugs while someone else cranked the ice cream
    – – watching the picture show at the drive in about a 1/2 mile away and making up our own dialog.
    – – enjoying the rattle of a good rain on a tin roof.
    – – admiring the chalk artwork or children, grandchildren, and young friends.
    – – observing a sailboat race in the distance.
    – – admiring the neighbors and distant towns’ fireworks displays.
    – – watching the milk cows come to the barn from the pasture for the night.
    – – greeting trick-or-treaters by creatign spooky house challenge for them to manuever to earn their treats.
    – – watching the cub scouts disassemble the old wind-up clocks I had collected and then try to put them back together (no one succeeded.
    – – eating breakfast, lunch, or supper (as the weather allowed) and watching the critters flying, creeping, crawling, running, skittering about.
    – – snuggling in a blanket and reading books to the little ones.
    – – sipping on a root beer float on a warm afternoon.
    – – sipping a good drink of an evening and watching the glorious sun sets then watching the stars come out.
    – – listening to the “battle of the bands” as the cicadies (cicadas) challenge the frog chorus.
    – – just sitting, holding hands.
    – – trying to wish that rainstorm in the distance our way to continue to lessen the drought.
    – – holding pinata camp as granddaughters and friend make their birthday pinatas on the porch.
    – – cutting, then folding fabric strips for Granny to crochet into rag rugs.
    – – threading needles so Granny could continue quilting when she could no longer see to thread the needles but could still feel her way to a fine stitch.
    – – laughing as uncle tries to teach the preschoolers how to jump rope
    – – being taught how to blow smoke rings with as cigar (I was 5); then throwing up to the laughter of the men on the porch; then watching my grandmother and aunt chase the instigator of this venture with their wet dish towels.
    I’ve always wanted a wrap around porch but guess a front porch, a back stoop, or a good shade tree builds memories just fine.

  • Reply
    Wanda
    July 25, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    I’ve got a picture of my grandpa shelling beans in the front porch glider. It’s one of my favorites.
    He always wore a hat, even when they went out of style & he’s wearing one in the picture.

  • Reply
    ldockery
    July 25, 2014 at 11:40 am

    I sit on my porch a lot and often have “company” visit. Yesterday evening I was in one rocking chair, one neighbor in the other, another neighbor in the swing and two little girls from down the street sat on the edge of the porch!

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek
    July 25, 2014 at 10:55 am

    We had a country store porch, and life was never better. It had huge concrete steps, and teenagers sitting all over the steps drinking Pepsi and Royal Crown. They would gather from all around. That porch was one of my most favorite spots on earth. We hung out there most evenings. Good memories!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 25, 2014 at 10:29 am

    I used to work with a young man named Poarch. One day he came to work and said his grandfather had died. Customerly we take up money and send a flower to the funeral home. When he was asked what his grandfather’s name was, he said Papaw Poarch. Yes, but what is his first name? All he knew was Papaw.

  • Reply
    Gina S
    July 25, 2014 at 8:52 am

    My Lincoln County grandparents had a long back porch with a sink and running cold water. I guess the water was turned off in winter. Grandmama washed fruits and veggies there before they went into her kitchen. Evenings were slow and easy there with an assortment of soft voices rising and falling in conversation. On summer Sundays Grandpa would pull several big ole watermelons, chill them, and invite the community down after church and lunch. Salt shakers were passed around and seeds spit into the yard. No one had much money or wanted it. We were rich in other blessings.

  • Reply
    Tipper
    July 25, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Steve-thank you for all your great comments! Growing up we didnt have a porch either! Granny always said her front porch was in my mouth (the cost of braces). All the kids were grown and gone before Granny finally got her porch! We set out back under the shade trees too : )
    Tipper
    Blind Pig The
    Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    Steve in TN
    July 25, 2014 at 8:24 am

    We didn’t have big porches so we sat under the big shade trees in the grass. Great for whittling and hearing the grown ups stories. That was where we shelled beans and cut corn, spent Sunday afternoon and cooled off.

  • Reply
    Susan Cook
    July 25, 2014 at 7:33 am

    Thanks to all for your remembrances. Where we are from life was very different and I so enjoy reading your memories.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    July 25, 2014 at 7:28 am

    A couple of days ago, I was up on the stepladder picking beans when Hall Battle pulled up in the driveway. It was late enough in the morning that we were in the sun, so I invited him into the house to sit down. He said “No, let’s just sit on the porch and talk.”
    Even when I’m here by myself, I’ll often go sit out on the front porch (which is the one in the back of the house;-) and eat my dinner or late supper this time of year, listening to jar flies or katydids singing about dog days gone by.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    July 25, 2014 at 7:00 am

    Tipper,
    I love that you have Queen Anne’s Lace in the food dye, waiting for it to draw up the color. A perfect place for it, in the shade on the porch.
    My Grandparents on my Father’s side had a porch that wrapped all around the house. I remember playing on that porch and some of the cousins visiting bringing their tricycles and riding all around. It was fun to play hide and seek on as well. The side that circled around the kitchen side, of course, had a crock or two, a few jars, etc. on a shelf by the door. A large wash pan hung on a nail. Then the ever present mop, broom and a cleaning bucket. The milk pails were kept in the house, cleaned and covered in a pantry with the churns, etc.
    My other Grandparents had two porches one on the front and one in the back off the kitchen. The big one in the front had the swing on one end. Many chairs and rocking chairs for sitting and tale telling, and just general news broadcasting when a neighbor happened down the road to have his corn ground into flour/meal!
    I wish my mind could retrieve all the stories I heard tell back then on that porch of a evening, morning or near midday when a neighbor down the road came in or the peddler came by. There were ghost stories, painter’ stories, garden growing tales. Storms, ball lighting and floods in Marshall stories. The one that happened that week or in the past. Of course there was the relative tales of sickness among the family and the getting better stories. Back then those porch boards heard many a true story, tall tale and maybe some out ant out lies…especially when the peddler spoke of what he could only swap Granny for her chickens and eggs…I got an earful when I could, sometimes shoo shooed off the porch to the yard to play when they thought little ears didn’t need to hear. A lot of problems probably got solved on that old porch, a lot of lessons learned and mentoring done. I had crochet lessons there as well.
    I would doze off on a folded quilt pallet in the swing as it got darker, listening to the voices as they faded into the back ground. Trying my best to catch every word. I wish I could still hear them resting, talking and story telling in rhythm with the creak of those old wooden chairs, rockers and swing.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 25, 2014 at 6:12 am

    A porch is a wonderful thing. It just seems like times have changed and I forget the porch is there in favor of the air conditioned indoors.

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