Wednesday, April 18, 2007


[About the snapshot: Taken in the early 50's, that's DS Karen in front of Grandpa Miller's front porch. Part of me waits at the top of the stairs.]

Distant visions of front porches are among my fondest childhood memories. Remember those swings? I talked an arm and a leg off Cousin Vance and Uncle Gale while enjoying their swings. Both men were pleasant company and if you timed it just right you could even grab a juicy grape from the vines at the back of Uncle Gale’s swing..

Grandpa Grover’s front porch was symbolic of everything I loved about Shock, WV. My eyes still see it. Just down the road is the church building and I watch as Grandma and Grandpa walk down the dirt road on their way to meeting. On around that bend is Uncle Ben’s. Sweeping back there’s the little house where two Aunt Bonnie's and Aunt Carrie live (in turn), the Uncle Sam mailbox, a perennial mud puddle somewhere by the road, the Puddle Jumper parked by the woodshop and then around the next bend on to Aunt Ruth’s and Uncle Gale’s, the store, the Tanner schoolhouse and Aunt Meda’s. This porch is my hub of all grandchild memory.

A place of rest, relaxation and congeniality - what’s not to like about a front porch? Grandpa Grover’s front porch may have had a swing at some time, but not that I can recall. I see rocking chairs and benches on either side of the door – all built by Grandpa Grover (or his sons?). I see Uncle Corley walking up the path to the porch for a weekend afternoon visit with his folks. I hear Grandpa singing hymns with sons and grandsons. Was that not where Gene taught us “How Great Thou Art”? I see and hear Grandpa lifting his hand with a hearty “Har-ree!” for everyone who traveled by. (“Har-ree”…is that a contraction for ‘how are ye’? Always wondered about that phrase and never heard it anywhere but Shock.) I see Grandma Oe rocking, apron still pinned on; and hear her laughter.

Times can be hard but that front porch was a special place in time. A place where there was always time enough for smiles and hugs, songs and laughter, dear family and neighbors.

And is that wisteria growing up the post and over the roof? Perhaps we all could use a little more front porch time and philosophy in our lives.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Spring keeps springing backwards. Couldn't resist lifting this photo from DB's email note of yesterday. Up state NY hasn't seen much spring yet! DSis noted similarities between this and my own backyard. When I visited there last fall, I was impressed with DB's back woods - so like his native WV hills. The front yard view was far more open and expansive however.

We've been on the road. Caught a little snow and cool air in NC, but had a nice week with DH's brothers. I pretty much had a week of doodling. Puzzles (now hooked on Kakuro, sigh) and reading and being almost unbearingly lazy. Really like those western NC mountains, too - looking out over those porches is like being on a mountain retreat.

Good news from the cardiologist when we returned! DH's heart function has increased 15-20% since installing those five stents. We'll take that and Praise God for it! DH says he can feel those little buggers in his chest, but that should subside in another month or so.

The creeks around here usually flood once or twice in the spring. Sunday was our day for that after a full night of rain. No harm done, not even the usual debris, as it came up rather slowly, but we were hemmed in for a few hours. Couldn't get out to 'meeting' (as Grandma Oe called church services) - that left the whole Son-day off balance. So I just loafed. Yesterday was 'shut-in' day; the laundry's caught up and with a few housekeeping chores done today, I'll call it settled back in. I learned long ago CAUGHT UP is a fantasy.

Monday, April 02, 2007


Seems that everyone, everything
Is leaning into the rush of Spring…

A series of thunderstorms swept through Teelside last night. We watched the lightening display from the balcony until the rain drove us in. Water was still rushing down the creeks this morning, but the banks held in the one and one-half inches of rainfall, perhaps because it came in waves.

The rainbow preceded the storms not long before dark. I get as excited about a seeing rainbow as hearing a whip-poor-will call. Nor can I turn away from the wonder until the last glimmer of color melts into the clouds.

I was thinking yesterday about a less colorful, but sure sign of spring. Have you noticed the birch trees among the bare winter trunks along wooded highways? By this time of year their leaves are papery wisps in the wind – forerunners of the dogwood that will soon hang suspended in the breeze. The birch leaves are a nearly colorless beige but beautifully fragile parchment - just rustling in place, waiting for the new rush of Spring.