Porches, Poppy, and Puzzles
The speed in which the wood rack on the porch empties indicates how cold the weather has turned. The row of muck boots has moved into the storage bins, and the old farm cat, Mia, stays curled up in a tight fluff ball (when she dares exchange the warmth of the barn for a corner on the porch). The canning burner and propane tank have been put away now that the fall harvest has been preserved. The porch scenes change with the seasons, and if their walls could talk what stories they would tell!
The porch was a popular spot to “court” back in the day, although Mom said she and Dad never occupied the porch swing as much as most people because her parent’s bedroom window was next to the swing. That old swing makes a great place to read though. I learned if you’re lying down and grip the chains with your toes, you can rock right and left without your feet having to touch the ground. It might be due to user error, but the porch swing was not so kind to my sister, Cindy. She did a touch-your-toes-to-the-ceiling challenge. (This was before kids had Tide Pods.) Pumping the swing higher and higher her little toes finally met the porch ceiling. Her success was short lived, however, because on the downward flight, the swing broke loose and she and the swing landed out next to the holly tree! I’ve never seen her get carried away like that since…
Our porch becomes extra seating during family reunions, a potluck buffet, and sometimes even a stage. It’s where family members gather to shuck corn, string beans, and de-stem grapes. It’s where we make messes and memories. My daughter especially treasures her porch time with Poppy, peeling apples while he explained his philosophies of life and source of his contentment…and why there are bullet holes in the wall on the back porch. (Something about the porch light shining in his eyes and how possums can run faster than you think.) Turns out maybe some walls do talk!
The lingering Coronavirus pandemic prevented us from going inside at my in-laws’ home in NJ but we had a delightful visit outside on their deck anyway. We ate fast food breakfast while watching a church service on TV through the open sliding glass doors. Birds fed their babies, a fawn ran through the lawn, butterflies fluttered from flower to flower, and the broadcast sermon talked about hospitality. Biblical Elisha was invited in a wealthy couple’s house to eat and board, and he in return found out what they needed and blessed them. In their case they wanted a child and Elisha prayed and their hospitality was rewarded with a miracle. (2 Kings 4:8-17) I wonder how many times we’ve sat with Jesus on the porch and thought how cool it was to have Him around, but never invited Him inside where He could truly bless us. We might even go to His house every Sunday but have never invited Him into ours. He’s standing on our porch knocking at our door but how do we respond?
Did you ever as a child look through the cracks in wooden floorboards of a porch and see all the treasures that had fallen through? Most of the time it was bubblegum machine trinkets but once we saw an important missing puzzle piece! Whether we are blue collar or white collar, Carhart or Cartier, we all want the pieces of our “puzzle” to fall into place and complete the big picture. To do this I’m convinced we need to make sure the piece that looks like Jesus is the one we start with and may it never be the one that falls through the cracks! (Matthew 6:33 “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.”)
Janet Cowger- Fliegel