And bright pretty flowers,
Hearing the birds sing for hours and hours,
Screened-in back porches with comfortable swings,
These are a few of my favorite things.
Thirty years ago my husband and I had a screened-in porch added to the back of our house. We enjoy eating outside in spring and summer, but if you have cattle nearby you will likely have flies — which were not welcome to our cookouts. With the screened-in porch we could enjoy the outdoors without the pesky insects.
Locating a plan for one was difficult. I looked through many home and decorating books trying to find a plan for building one. I finally found a very small picture of one which I gave to our builder. It wasn’t a blueprint but just a photograph; however, the builder was able to construct the porch just like we wanted it. It has been a great addition on our home and has been used for many memorable gatherings over the years.
We have had birthday parties, anniversary parties, retirement parties, church and school group get-togethers on our porch. Our very first time we used it was for a family reunion on the Fourth of July. Unlike the typical heat around Independence Day, that year it was unusually cool. Some of my family who came from eastern North Carolina could not believe they had to wrap up in a blanket to keep warm in July.
My favorite part of the porch is the swing. It is a wonderful place to sit to have your second cup of coffee on cool spring or summer mornings. The birds are singing. You can smell the newly mown hay and early blossoms from the flower beds. I would describe it as the most peaceful place that I could be.
The swing has been put into great use when babysitting our grandchildren. They all loved to swing with Memaw or Papaw and tell stories, play games, or reminisce about their parents when they were little. The favorite question was “Tell me about my daddy.”
At times, the swing was a “bus” — taking the children on various trips. Other times, it was an “airplane” flying them to exotic places. It was a great place for their imaginations to work and to keep them content. I treasure those times with the grandchildren in the swing.
The porch has also been a great place to keep plants and flowers. When I was teaching, I had many pretty green plants that I put in the library where I worked. Each summer I brought them home and put them on our porch to enjoy during the summer. After retirement, I wondered what we would do with them during the winter. My husband, who is much better than I am at taking care of the plants, used a grow-light in the basement during the winter and brought them back out in spring and summer to enjoy.
Spring and summer rains, beautiful flowers, birds singing, and grandchildren’s voices, good food and fellowship all are enjoyable on the screened-in back porch. I think I will go sit a spell and enjoy!
Bonnie Simmerman of Jonesborough can be reached at [email protected]