My childhood home always had plenty of rocking chairs, chairs that invited our family and neighbors to sit for a while and visit. The porch always had a collection that included something for everyone: big wooden rockers, child-sized rockers, spring-base metal patio chairs, to name a few.
From Memorial Day through Labor Day we rocked a million miles and the adults solved most of the world’s problems while sitting and talking on the porch. The spring base chairs were the most coveted. A subtle, informal game of musical chairs was always in play as the adults sat, got up for a drink, or dessert, or to help with the grill or the after-dinner dishes and then to sit again.
Sometimes we listened to the radio and for a few years we even moved the “portable tv” to the porch.. Mostly though amiable chatter was our background music. The children, a mixed collection of kids, grand-kids, and neighbor kids, bounced from front yard to porch and back outside again. The screen door from the porch to the front yard literally fell off its hinges one summer from so much use. The constant refrain of “don’t slam that door!” still echoes in my head.
We rocked and shared family stories that got better with every telling. We introduced current boyfriends, girlfriends, and future in-laws and offered them a chair too (but rarely those coveted spring base rockers). Aunts, uncles and cousins popped by on the weekends. Saturday rounds of golf were re-played from the porch rockers on Saturday evenings and Sundays.
From that porch and while rocking in our chairs we cataloged birds, squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits and treated them like extended family members. Sometimes when the summer evenings were sticky and still one of my parents would drag out a box fan and an extension cord to create the illusion of a breeze.
We were Southern and we rocked.