By CLINTON POWELL
Jobe Publishing Contributor
When I see all the violence and unrest that we are witnessing in today’s society, I am saddened by what I see and wonder how we get here? What circumstances in the lives of these self-proclaimed “protestors” have driven them to be so “offended” so easily? I remember the simpler, kinder days I spent on my Grandma’s front porch and can’t help but wonder if the world wouldn’t be better off with more front porches and front porch swings. Maybe if more of these people had spent time “chilling out” on their Grandma’s front porch while learning life lessons, which can only be experienced through quiet conversations with their elders, who actually lived through truly tough times, they would have a whole different perspective on life.
Back in my youth, there was no air conditioning to alleviate the heat of those stifling summer days, so I spent a lot of time outdoors. One of my favorite places was on Grandma’s front porch, either laying on the cool concrete or sitting in the porch swing. I have many fond memories of sitting with Grandma in the swing while we gently swayed in the breeze. Whether she was imparting her homespun wisdom upon me or we just sat and enjoyed the quiet solitude as the sun dropped behind the trees on the horizon, there was just something comforting about the motion of that old porch swing. We kept swinging as the twilight faded into dusk, signaling the lightning bugs to begin their visual serenade. As if on cue, cows in the barn lot added their gentle lowing to the peacefulness of the early evening. How precious those moments with my Grandma are to me now and what wouldn’t I give to relive them once again.
Of course, when I was in the swing alone, especially if there was no one to catch me, I tested the durability of the chains and secureness of the ceiling anchors. I would see just how high I could make it go. I can remember trying to get high enough to touch the ceiling and how the chains jerked when the swing plummeted back down and bottomed out. It is a wonder the chains didn’t slip off the hook anchors and come crashing down on the concrete porch. If I wasn’t trying to tap the ceiling, I was jumping out at the highest point of the forward arc, pretending I was a paratrooper jumping behind enemy lines. Ah, the fearlessness of youth, or a more appropriate assessment might be foolhardiness!
The swing was also a favorite hang-out for the cousins. We would jam as many of us as would fit on the seat, with no fear of overloading it. We usually sang songs as we swung back and forth, each trying to be the loudest voice in the “choir.” I can almost hear the childish laughter and giggling emanating from the seat of that old swing as I picture us in our youthful exuberance. Speaking of cousins, the swing is where one of my cousins earned one of his many nicknames with which my Dad was so fond of tagging us youngsters. I think David was three or four at the time he was standing in the swing while my Dad was sitting in the swing, leaning over the back shooting his .22 rifle. The swing became unbalanced and flipped over backwards and as the story goes, Daddy landed on his back on the porch, but managed to catch both David and the rifle before either of them hit the hard, concrete floor. Upon discerning his nephew wasn’t injured, my Dad laughingly dubbed him with the moniker of “Flip,” which was added to all the others my Dad assigned him over the years.
I can’t help but smile as the memories of family and all the love associated with that old porch swing flood through my mind, eventually overflowing and trickling down my cheeks.