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Rhapsody on Porches

September 18, 2021

Another Way for week of September 10, 2021

Rhapsody on Porches

We have a long porch running the length of our house. This summer, my husband and I used it snapping beans for canning. I confess we use it less than we should. When the grandsons come, they run races on it, blow bubbles from the sides, and practice casting fishing rods. And of course, they love the porch swing, which still fits all five. I fancy some of the grandsons someday having slumber parties out there, once they get old enough.  

Porch swing at our home, 2020.

On vacation together this summer, the final morning of our stay at a cabin near a lake, all five of them plopped themselves on the cabin’s porch swing. The grown-ups all grabbed for their phones. I know the porch and swing at our house will figure strong in their grandma and grandpa memories.

Porch swing at Deer Creek Lake, Maryland, 2021. The boys posed themselves for this picture.

I grew up with a porch on our farm in Indiana and loved everything about it except for cleaning it each summer: the banisters, the white siding behind our swing, the windows. On the porch swing we’d wait for the bus to appear before heading 25 feet to the road. Before my next oldest sister went to school, she sat on that swing desperately trying to pronounce her middle name, Marie, thinking she would have to give her full name to the teachers, or someone. She cried because she simply couldn’t quite say it right.

On another morning when we were waiting on the bus, I was late coming out the door, down the steps, and up the steps of Bus #3. (If you rode a bus, do you remember the number of the bus and driver?) Tobe was our driver. I stumbled on my way up the bus steps that day and fell hard, chipping a front tooth. A forever souvenir from Bus 3 and a frequent reminder not to rush going up steps.

When our cousins came to visit us, we would play “Seven Steps Around the House” after dark—frightening each other silly—and used the porch as home base.

Painting by Florence Yoder, my aunt/mother’s sister. You can’t see the porch swing here, we maybe took it down for winter.

On rainy evenings my husband and I love to sit on the porch and listen to the rain pour down, something we didn’t hear a lot of this summer until hurricane season in late August and September.   

I got the idea to write about this from a blogger friend and former president of Goshen College, Indiana, Shirley Showalter. In her blog post “Porch Culture,” she sings the praises of a wonderful new or old porch (

Not long after I read Shirley’s rhapsody on front porches, I was walking in a neighborhood near our church where a friend and I exercise frequently. A woman was sitting on her porch, mid-morning on a fairly warm day. When I later circled back by the same house, I saw an older woman getting out of her car there and I fancied that they were having a little morning get together. Porches are good for things like that, especially amidst this pandemic that seems to be making another unwelcome push through our cities and countrysides.

A lifelong friend and work colleague, James Krabill, shared this gem recently on Facebook: “A family visit to Maplewood, New Jersey, introduced us to the “Porch Fest” –an annual Labor Day Weekend celebration during which dozens of musicians from all over town set up shop on their own front porches and perform. Residents roam the streets, popping in on their favorite music venues. This is a super cool idea that needs to be tried in a few other locations I can think of.” James is an amazing musician himself and I have no doubt he’ll get it going in his community. Some have observed “International Play Music on the Porch Day,” on the last Saturday in August since 2017.

Start practicing for next year!


Share your porch stories and memories here! Or send to or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  

  1. I have poignant memories of porches: my grandmother’s bird house alongside tiny ropes of wistaria anchored by the porch railing.

    My grandma rocked on the porch as she shelled beans too.
    At home, we counted cars on Saturday evenings, swaying on the porch swing.

    The painting is lovely, evocative. And of course the precious photos fo the grand-boys! ;-D

    • My aunt Florence was a known artist in northern Indiana, won many ribbons and prizes. I have several of her paintings. I love her painting of our old farm house, and you can see the chicken house out back of the house. Look for the chicken house in my memoir. 🙂

      I was sure you would have plenty of porch memories. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Gloria Holub permalink

    We didn’t have a substantial porch but I do remember Middlebury bus #7 and our driver Harold!

    • Marilyn Yoder permalink

      I remember sitting on Grandma Stauffer’s porch swing. When grandma died I had to have a swing. I bought one and put it on a metal frame in my apartment yard. When I eventually bought a house, it had have a front porch so I could put my swing on it. I loved it when my sister, Rosie, came to visit me from Wisconsin and we sat on it. To this day I love to sit on my porch swing in the evening to relax from the long day’s work.

      • Marilyn, thanks for these additional memories, we certainly remember Grandma’s porch swing too. Glad to hear you have your own porch swing!! Really cool. And thanks for being in touch yesterday, hope to see you Friday afternoon if we don’t miss you.

  3. Yay Gloria for remembering your bus # and your driver. 🙂

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