The lost pastime of porch sitting

This article originally was written for my July-August Newsletter, which I print and send out to abourt 350 past customers and people whom I’ve met one way or another in my real estate career. Although lots of people like to read blogs on-line many of my Newsletter readers tell me they prefer to have a paper newsletter that they can put on the nightstand and read a little at a time.

We are fortunate to live in a house with porches. I have a big, wrap-around porch on the front of the house and a smaller “sun porch” on the back side. My historic home was built in 1885, but the porches were likely added later. There was a time when sitting out on your front porch and watching people go by was considered a nice pastime, especially on lazy summer afternoons.

We’ve sort of lost touch with that pastime as a society, it seems. Perhaps the pace of our lives has become such that we don’t feel that we have time for such an indulgence; but I suspect that air conditioning is mainly to blame. People move inside, close up the house and turn on the air when it gets too warm. I’ll admit that I do, too.  Porches sort of fell out of favor as a design feature sometime in the 60’s.

On those days in the Spring and Fall (and on occasion in the summer) when it’s not too hot, it’s still great to be able to go out to the front porch (which is screened-in to keep the bugs away) and just sit there and read or watch the world go by. I’ll admit also that I installed an overhead fan on my porch, so I can create a breeze when none exists.

Our porch is big enough to entertain on, with room for both of our children and all of the grandchildren when they come to visit. We have to drag a few chairs out for those occasions, but  everybody has a place to sit and the grandkids still have lots of room to play. There’s even an old fashion porch swing.

On the south side of the front porch we’ve put a nice little table where the grandkids can sit and color or maybe have a snack. In the corner by the front door is our little menagerie—two giraffes, a camel, a hippo and an elephant. The grandkids love those, too.

So, if you happen to be strolling by my house and see me out there, wave and say hi. I might even invite you up to “sit a spell”; maybe even have a beer; just don’t feed the animals.

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