Posts Tagged ‘Peter Seeger’

Porch Sitters

There is something that saddens and puzzles me. Where have all the porch sitters gone? Quite often when we are out I make comment about the lack of people in the yards. You can drive down the road or through a subdivision and see no sign of children playing in the yard, adults sitting on the porch or neighbors chatting over the fence. In fact, there is little evidence that they even enjoy their well-manicured, landscaped lawns: no vintage wooden lawn chairs, no swing dangling from a tree, no basketball hoops, no bikes leaning against the tree, no softball bases, no picnic tables-nothing.

It makes me remember a folk song Peter, Paul and Mary made popular in the early 60’s.  “Where Have All the Flowers Gone”  written by Peter Seeger in 1955.  According to  Wikipedia,  Seeger found inspiration for the song in October 1955, while on a plane bound for a concert in Ohio. Leafing through his notebook he saw the passage, “Where are the flowers, the girls have plucked them. Where are the girls, they’ve all taken husbands. Where are the men, they’re all in the army.”

I wonder, where have all the children gone, they are in their bedrooms texting their friends.  Where are all the families, they are running their kids to sporting events. Where are all the neighbors, they are at the Y, picking up supper at Pizza Hut and coming home from work to unwind before the TV.

As I take a stroll down memory lane,  I remember “living” in our yard. We had a spacious lawn with numerous trees and lots of hearty,  green grass.  As soon as supper was over in the evening the whole family migrated to the lawn.  There were two white wooden lawn chairs for mother and daddy to sit in.

As kids we climbed trees, played softball, croquet & badminton, rode bikes, slide down the garage roof, had water fights with used syringes from the dairy barn, swam in the creek, caught fireflies, played “Red Rover”,  walked the top rail of the white board fence, turned cartwheels, jumped from the porch roof with the swing in the big elm tree and many other things too numerous to name.   Often the neighbor children would come over and join in our fun while their parents,  Mr. and Mrs. Kephart, would sit on their front porch across the road and watch our lively game of softball.  In the summer we often slept on mattresses on the upstairs porch.

On our front porch was a wooden porch swing and more “porch chairs”.  Sunday afternoons would often find us on the front porch visiting with family or friends.  Besides the kitchen, the porch was probably the most loved spot in the house.  Gene and I spent a lot of time “dating” on our front porch;  sitting in the swing, his arm around my shoulder, talking.  Talking and eating is so much better on the porch.  There is a warmth about the porch that invites conversation.  It eliminates competition with the TV, stereos and phones.  You can see this dates me before the phenomena of cell-phones, computers and other electronic gadgets!!

I remember one time my husband and I were sitting on our front porch waiting for our guests to arrive. They thought it was so funny to see us sitting on our porch and gently ribbed us about it.

Now, the lazy boy chairs surround the TV, the gym room provides exercise, ball is a highly competitive game on the little league team, kids play the “Wi” and other electronic games and supper is on the run.

I challenge you to rediscover the front porch.  Challenge your kids to play on the lawn. They will be more likely to go outside if you are there. Rediscover a picnic supper with a neighbor, friend or family. Rediscover conversation and family togetherness. Rediscover taking time to sit and enjoy the little plot of dirt called “your lawn”.  There you will find quietness, family togetherness, peace, good old fashion fun, and real conversation.  Instead of conversation centered about what is on TV, it will be about life, feelings, family, work, and faith. There is no better place to clear your mind, enjoy your spouse  and relax at the end of a busy day.

And if you aren’t careful you  just might become an  addicted “porch sitter”!

Doesn’t this look like an inviting, warm and relaxing place to chat with a friend?  It makes me want to pull up a chair and join them.

Thank you Gordan Ziegler (on left)  for allowing me to use this picture of you and a guest, sitting on the side porch of your   lovely “Bed and Breakfast” home in Lancaster, PA, enjoying conversation and refreshments.  When I saw it recently on fb, it  motivated me to write this blog which has been burning in my heart.

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