Sunday, June 16, 2013

Porch Sitting

My dad liked the outdoors, and each evening after supper (we called it supper), he would walk to our front porch to sit in our swing and smoke. 
Even now when I close my eyes and drift back in time, I can smell the tobacco from his self-rolled cigarettes, and hear the low-pitched groaning sound that our swing made as we swung to and fro.
I learned early on that this was his time. I could join him out on the porch, but if I tried to talk, he'd shoo me inside. But if I remained silent as a monk, I could stay. He seemed to notice every sound. Tree frogs when they changed gears in their love songs, cicadas, and the distant moan of a lonesome train whistle as it moved through the southernmost hills and hollows of the Appalachians. I think that must have been where I learned the skill of listening. 
I knew even then that there was no other place I'd rather be than sitting on that pine-plank porch with my dad.
It seems that time soon began to move more quickly. One day I was in grammar school, then when the weekend arrived I was graduating from high school, then college, then the Army, then marriage, and with each step there was less and less time for my dad.
I never once heard him complain. And then he was gone. 
As I look back over my life, there are very few things I would do differently. But tonight as I sit here typing these words, I do wish I had found more time to sit on the porch with my dad.


  1. So well said. Yes, I, too, would love to be able to spend time with my Dad again.

  2. What a beautiful tribute Rick ...................and you brought me back in time - although we sat on stoops ( city born and bred ) that's where the Dad's gathered to have their smoke after supper ( we call it supper too )
    Loved reading this...........

  3. This is lovely Rick... as children we are living our lives, not realizing how quickly time passes... it is not until we are older when we notice how time flies by so easily:)

    Oh... we call it supper too... always have :)

  4. Your Dad sounds lovely. Happy Father's Day! take care

  5. Such a nice tribute to your dad. When loved ones are gone, we look back at those moments and cherish them. I also wish I'd had more time with my father. He used to enjoy walking, and I'd give anything to take one more stroll with him.

  6. What a beautiful tribute. He sounds like someone who enjoyed the beauty in everyday life and loved taking everything in. Listening is a skill people cuold use more of these days.

    P.S. we call it super where I grew up in rural KY as well :)

  7. I remember the golden rule that "Silence is golden". Your dad probably worked so hard that he looked forward to just sit and listen to himself think. I still have that gun incident in my mind. He was a good dad. Things were done differently then.
    Have a great week Rick.

  8. We do cherish such moments between people when silence is more meaningful than chatting non stop.My Grand Father was like that.
    He didn't much care to talk unless there was something
    important to say. I loved him the best and thought he was a Saint. I'd ask my grand mother and she'd laugh so hard and then told
    every one what I said. They didn't see in him what I did.
    Maybe that's why he never talked lol

  9. A poignant post. I think we all wish for more time with our dads, living or not. I have my share of good memories stored up, but whenever I see him, I try to squirrel away some more. The experience with chemotherapy has changed him somewhat, but I'm trying to work around it and get to know him in a new way.

    1. Chemo does change people. I'd do my best to make the best of your time with him.

  10. It was the patio with my dad. He'd sit there smoking his pipe and listening to a baseball game. Sometimes I sat outside with him, but more often, not.


  11. What a great memory. I can remember going fishing with my Dad only once..he told me that I would have to be very quiet and not talk so I wouldn't scare the fish. He knew that would kill me to be quiet that long! I did go and he was right..It was killing me to not talk...I just wanted to ask him one question..where are the fishes ears?

  12. Anonymous3:41 PM

    Beautifully written, Rick--thank you!!


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