This I Believe

Laurel - Nashville, Tennessee
Entered on September 12, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

Growing up in an environment where the front porch was an anchor of the home (although only coming in close seconds to the kitchen table), I never quite appreciated the power of a front porch, until now.

Yes, in these I believe.

I believe thoughts become enlightened, uncertainty becomes understandable and roots of relationships grow deeper in the heart of the front porch. This foundation shows no bias to weather or seasons, people or pets…bide my time alone, with a pal, a foe, a family, a favorite four legged friend…or with my most complicated companion, my thoughts.

Choose the rocking chair or the steps or dangle my legs over the side; let go of a demon and let the motion of the rocker to the talking. I’ve made pallets and taken naps, read books, performed my share of skits of pilgrims and indians, carved pumpkins, watched fireworks, family dinner parties and thanksgiving dinners.

It was on a front porch only a few months ago, that I heard the most simple and profound combination of words from a legendary lady in my life. In an overdue afternoon visit with my friend Lela, I was humbled and rejuvenated with every word she spoke in her blunt, refreshingly humorous, and completely compassionate style. After several stories of years gone by, current events, small town gossip and everyday aches and pains, she casually and humorously revealed that she had resorted to drinking homemade wine at the age of 94 to prevent Alzheimers, then went on to say that I sure did look good for a white girl with meat on her bones, also that she had no use for and would never resort to using a walking cane because she didn’t know when to pick it up and put it down…and oh the stories goes on!

Our good-byes began in the living room, moved to the front door and eventually the front porch. We laughed a little more, agreed to see each other soon and made more small talk to prolong the farewell; she grew quiet as her eyes wandered into the autumn rich pasture across from her modest home…and in almost a mumble she mentioned she was most thankful for the friends in her life and through her trademark chuckle she muttered, “I’m just proud to be in the number”.

Her reference to the timeless tune “When the Saints go Marching In” was perhaps the most simple eight words spoken but in that moment were heard as heartfelt and colorfully as if I were living in the song and soaring out of saxophones in Jackson Square…and no truer words have been spoken. It took this 94 year old jewel with a soul as honest and old as the stars in her eyes, to help me understand…but I believe I understand because she held me, my thoughts and vulnerability captive on her foundation, on her front porch, and it was only chance that I was lucky enough to be invited to listen.

No matter where your front porch dwells, on the side of an country dirt road, on the 73rd floor of a downtown high-rise or on the backside of your boat…keep the character of your front porch in your back pocket, wear it on your sleeve and not too far from your heart and you may just be surprised at the peace it brings.