In praise of the front porch


It’s almost summer and it’s nice to sit on my porch again. The house that my wife and I purchased over 40 years ago has a full-width porch on the front that is about 10 feet deep. On the porch, we keep two wicker rockers, a chair I can get out of and a porch swing. The porch swing is the place everyone wants to sit. Every one of our grandchildren have been rocked to sleep on this swing. The swing has gotten so much use that the cushion on it has had to be replaced three times and it had to be reattached to the ceiling twice.

The floor is covered with indoor-outdoor carpeting. It also has a ceiling fan that I installed years ago that gives the Rug porch a Southern plantation feel. My wife lives out there in the summer, reading her Kindle. It’s like having another room on the house during summer.

The man who built our house, a Mr. Simpson, did a good job by providing a large front porch. It helps keep the temperature down while we are relaxing. The porch faces eastward and it’s shady all day, from about 10 a.m. until the following morning. I really enjoy being able to write out there after being cooped up inside all winter. I like to catch a cool breeze there and inhale deeply. The cool air hitting my lungs makes me feel more alive.

If you look at the reason for a porch, the whole point was to keep cool during hot weather. Before air conditioning, being inside a house on a muggy, 80-degree day undoubtedly was hell.

The roof on the Rug porch is really the key to my enjoyment. The full roof provides ample shade for most of the day and protection from the occasional thunderstorm that passes by. I love watching the lightening from my porch especially with my children and grandchildren. They have all developed a healthy respect for lightening and have no fear of storms like a lot of other children.

The sights and sounds I hear from the Rug porch are seldom boring. I enjoy the sound of the wind chimes, birds and the neighborhood children playing. I love watching my grandchildren playing in the yard. Their shrieks and laughter are music to my ears. I enjoy listening to the crickets. Their chirp, chirp, chirp signifies summer to me.

There are several types of conversations we have while on the front porch. There are the nonverbal ones like waving to the neighbors. A brief “how’s it going” may be offered to people walking by on the sidewalk. We usually don’t see folks walking by though because we have window boxes filled with flowers on the porch railing and some hanging plants. We are virtually invisible hiding behind our wall of green.

If our neighbors or friends stop by, they have a comfortable place to sit and chat. It is not uncommon to chat way past our bed time. A few people even drive over to sit on our porch and chat.

My porch is a great place for me to talk or play cards with my wife at the end of the day. It’s a place where we can relax, unwind and actually have a conversation.  The porch is an excellent place for us to talk with our grandkids about the birds and bees. No, not those birds and bees but the ones we can see from the porch. The Goldfinches, Blue Jays and Morning Doves. Also the Bumble bees, Honey bees and Carpenter bees.

A porch is an excellent place to play an old-fashioned card game like War or Old Maid with the kids, or a board game like Trouble or Sorry, as you sip some ice-cold lemonade.

Being on your porch just might just help you reduce stress and tension, lift your spirits and calm your mind. When you share the space with a spouse, a child or a friend, you can talk, and some studies have shown people who have more social connections live longer. If you laugh on the porch, surely there are even more health benefits!

If you are on your porch, you can’t do the dishes, fold the laundry, sweep the floor, stare at a messy room or clean a closet. When you need a quick break, your kids most likely won’t look for you there. It’s a good place to go when you feel like an argument is coming on, an enjoyable place to warm up under an afghan with your sweetie, a pleasant place to read and the perfect place to think or contemplate life.

Is it too hot on your porch? Take a fan out with you. Too cold? Grab a blanket. Too dark? Bring along a candle, preferably citronella, to repel mosquitoes. Sitting on the porch might just be the best mini vacation you can take from the stress of modern life. So come sit on the porch with me, where the drinks are cold and the friendship is free.

Norbert Rug is a freelance journalist and blogger from Lockport. Visit his blog at


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