The Porch Within My Dreams…

I talk a lot about dreaming of the south and while most people know I’m from Idaho, I was raised with a lot of southern influence in my life.  From fried green tomatoes, fried okra, a garden that grew vegetables so fresh you could just tear an ear of corn and eat it straight from the cob while  the crisp and succulent kernels exploded with flavor in your mouth…

I dream of living in a world where family matters; where friends and family alike gather together for BBQ’s, game nights, and joyous times filled with the sounds of joy, laughter, and the squeals of children running and playing in the grass;  warm summer days spent sipping lemonade while sitting on a wrap around porch, paper fans to cool the sweet sticky sweat dripping down the back of your neck, and waiting for the sun to go down to feel some semblance of air.  Crickets squeaking in the distance, frogs bellowing out to eachother…all the sounds of night minus the sounds of the city.  I dream of going to the lake and jumping from a rope hung from a mighty oak and yelling to the top of my lungs in my best Tarzan voice…

I dream of a time and place where children are outdoors exploring, running, chasing their imaginations…where the women gather to discuss children, recipes, or just sit around and share the town gossip…where men gather around the BBQ or get together to play a friendly game of football in the yard; or even just gathering together to watch a fight on t.v. or a basketball game; drinking beer and talking spit… I long to belong to a place with roots; a place to begin my own history…

I remember as a small child running through strawberry patches, watching my mother plant flowers or doing some sort of yard work all the while I’d try to hand her up mud pies made in my easy bake oven. As I grew older, I remember sitting in the kitchen watching my step-grandma who was from Arkansas trying to teach my sister and I how to cook or how to sew.  She encouraged the “artful” side of us…often joining us to do paintings…on canvas and material… the whole time we’d be squirming to get outside to play.  I look back now and understand she was trying to teach us how to be ladies, how to care for our future families….the southern way filled with spitfire and hospitality.

I remember not having to worry about locking our front doors…summers spent down at the canal…riding our bikes all over town…playing croquet…family gatherings: BBQ’s, picnics at the park…I have so many fond memories of my childhood.  There were times I was bitter or resentful of growing up on such a large property and all the responsibility that went with it.  It was a family affair and just because we were children did not mean we were exempt.  I used to hate all the “chores” and the upkeep that came with our property and our acre garden, the fields, the lawn mowing, all the weeding, and all the dusting that had to be done in that big house…especially when the wind storms would kick up dust everywhere….but looking back I realize we were being taught the importance of hard work, of learning responsibility, etc.

I remember on wash days we would hang our sheets on the line to dry.  There was nothing better than going to sleep on the crisp, cool, sheets kissed by the sun.  Sunday mornings used to be my favorite day of the week.  We would wake to the smell of fresh ground coffee, homemade biscuits and gravy, fresh bacon (well, that was before we became SDA and turned vegan…) and always to the sound of the Everly Brothers shouting, “Wake up a little Suzy, wake up…”

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