More and more, a large porch is becoming a think of the past.
Porches are the monitors of the neighborhood. At one time porches were a part of North Louisiana architecture, but air conditioning has changed that. A generation of children has grown up with skimp porches or none at all. We are even losing words from our vocabulary. How long has it been since you heard someone talk about the gallery or the veranda?
Porches were the place to sit and cool off and greet the neighbors and watch the children at play. They were outfitted with a swing, a rocking chair or two, and a few cane bottom chairs. Sometimes the furniture might be wicker.
People dressed neater and watched their language knowing that passers-by could see or hear them. It worked the other way, too. Young people behaved better under the constant watchful eye of those fanning themselves on the front porch. A clearing of the throat was a clue that you were doing something that was not acceptable in polite society.
Houses grew with the families. A porch could be enclosed to make a bedroom or family room. If you slept on a screened-in porch you could see the moon coming up over the lacy tops of the black trees or hear birds saluting the day in the rosy glow of dawn. Roses or Morning Glories might shade a front porch from the western sun or grapevines grew on a back one.
You could stand protected on a front porch and watch the clouds gather for a thunderstorm, and later listen to the pounding rain. In winter, you could scoop up snow without getting outside in the weather. In summer, the roof provided shade from the hot sun and gave children a place to play.
Back porches were a place for a wash pan and bucket of water to clean up from work or play. Dirty clothes could be left there, as well as gathered vegetables that were not yet ready for the kitchen. You could spread out papers and have a pleasant place to churn.
If you are lucky enough to have a porch on your house, enjoy it. Drink a cup of coffee there while the grass is still jeweled with dew, or watch the stars come out at night.
Gypsy Damaris-Boston, 94, is a columnist and author of children's books who lives in Ida.