Heaven on Earth is the front porch at my old home place on a summer evening. My sister, Wanda, lives in the house where I was raised and recently with the nice evenings I have spent some time on her front porch in that swing that I loved so much many years ago.
Nothing, no, nothing, a swimming pool, a recreation area, nothing is as satisfying as sitting there and relaxing and talking. We did plenty of that many years ago before air-conditioning.
Families on our street would sit on their porches in order to escape the heat. We had standard time and it would be dark in the summer by about eight o’clock, which would give us plenty of time to talk, and laugh at stories, told mostly by the older folk.
It wasn’t unusual for neighbors to join in, but mostly on weekends my sisters and their families would visit and there would be a multitude of people sharing the fun.
As a kid I enjoyed that front porch swing especially during an afternoon rain. The sound of the rain drowned out my singing but I still remember my favorites, such as, “Down By the Old Mill Stream” and “Detour, There’s a Muddy Road Ahead”, plus several others.
The home place is over 100 years old. It was built by my father with his handsaw and claw hammer. He was a carpenter and knew his trade.
Last year Wanda had the house completely remodeled. It was built stronger than a fort. I couldn’t believe what I saw when our chief architect and builder, Harold Douglas and his helper Dennis, tore the paper off the walls. The walls were solid wood boards.
Imagine sawing by hand and nailing them. My dad did it. He only had a third grade education, but he was the smartest carpenter ever. He worked his way to being a bridge and highway contractor with Buckner Hinkle of Paris, Ky.
My dad was the foreman on the job of building the original DuPont Lodge at Cumberland Falls State Park. He also constructed the Bath House that used to be in the beach area. My mother also had a hand in that construction. She sewed the curtains on her foot pedal Singer Sewing machine for every window in the lodge.
Harold Douglas of Williamsburg is equally talented. He came up with idea after idea on the remodeling of that old house and it is like a new one now. (Don’t pester Harold with calls because of this praise because he stays very busy. Call me and I’ll talk to him for you.)
But as I said, that front porch is so wonderful. You rarely see people out of their houses in the evenings anymore. But when I visit my sister I enjoy the time we spend there. It would be greater if we could have all those who have passed on and share that time again. But I have the memories and they are vivid when I am sitting there swinging! It is Heaven on Earth!
• The Fourth of July. What a great holiday, one of my favorites. I like the music, the parades, the cookouts, and the fireworks.
But this year, because of the pandemic the fireworks are in short supply. Our favorite place, Thunder Sams, has some, but his usual supply was cut short this year because of the pandemic.
But the thing about fireworks is that some people don’t understand that we celebrate on the Fourth. They start those boomers days before the holiday and continue long after.
These people are inconsiderate and don’t care who they disturb or how the sounds can affect veterans who have been affected by the sounds of gunfire while serving our country and dogs which run in fear of the noise, plus keep people awake that have to work.
Unfortunately, the world is not a perfect place and hopefully our law enforcement people will nab a few and teach them a lesson on when it is permissible to shoot off fireworks.
• And before I go, it is a shame that you would have to give some people $1,500 to go back to work! There are help wanted signs everywhere and many businesses are suffering because of the lack of workers. Oh yes, I am for paying a decent wage too. I hope you will extra tip your server when you go out to eat. These people depend on the tip money to earn a living.
Please think of others, not only with tips, but also by getting vaccinated from Covid so you will not be a threat to society.
Have a Great Fourth!