When you walked out Ma and Pa Foster's back door there was a large pear tree straight ahead and a car shed and gas tank to your left. To your right, before the pasture and garden, was a porch swing.
This swing had been painted green once but was now chipped and the chains were rusted from the weather; but in my memory it is a vision of loveliness. This is where my sister, cousin, and I would sit and shell peas with Ma, watch Pa plow, or we would cook up our adventures. And by the looks of this picture I may have been rocked to sleep once or twice in it.
This is a photo of me, on the left, with my mama and sister, Janice. My Aunt Bea and cousin, Alice, are on the right.
My grandparents had a nine acre farm in Walnut Grove, nothing fancy or special, but to me it was Shangri-La. This is where all of my favorite childhood memories took place. They are wrapped up in a fuzzy, cozy space in my brain and heart. The porch swing is always there.
Many of you have a porch swing and all of you have memories of one.
They are charming and romantic. I love them so much that this summer was the ten year anniversary of me having one hanging inside my home.
This is a picture of the first one inside my home.
Delia's bedroom was redecorated for her tenth birthday. Who needs a chair when there's a swing that needs a home? Izzy was a newborn and I sat up many late nights swinging her. Delia would be diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes the next year and at night, when the house was quiet, I would sit in that swing and watch her sleep, praying.
When we moved the swing was placed in our living room. Sometimes mamas get to be selfish, it's in the rule book. Just ask any mama.
The swing was the place to be. Looking back I should have had a sign-up list and a timer on a cute little table beside it.
In our home now a new swing has lent its charms to the kitchen area. With a pillow and your foot placed in just the right spot on the wall even schoolwork takes on a note of pleasure.
Songs about porch swings have been written for years. There's the slow, mournful sound of Gene Watson singing, "Old Porch Swing." From births to deaths to romance he celebrates the porch swing. Great song but a little too sad for me to pass along. But if you have a hanky and a hankering -
There's Elton John's tribute to Elvis Presley. I love Elvis so this one's a favorite. Hush 'yo mouth and listen to "A Porch Swing in Tupelo."
And if you've ever been a country fan or known a country fan you've heard John Anderson's "Swingin'."
Mamas, if you've got a Charlotte Johnson you might consider putting your porch swing in the house. There's a better view.
Go porch swingin' today. If you can't find one come on over to my house. It's bug-free, air-conditioned, and the swing is close to the fridge. Just put your name on the list and listen for the timer. "Time's up - my turn."