Ninepatch is the monthly publication of a non-profit organization by the same name. In the pages of this Ninepatch magazine, women – and the men who support them – share their spiritual journeys and life experiences through letters, essays, poetry, book reviews and more. Ninepatch offers a forum where contributors can be heard and enjoy an atmosphere of sharing and acceptance. Such sharing is vital in helping everyone find their place in an eternal spiritual circle where all know and are known.
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THE PORCH SWING
My old porch swing. I love it! Perhaps it’s because Auntie Alma has one on her porch and I so often stayed with her as a kid. Summer afternoons, we sat on her swing and watched cars go by on the street. Sometimes people walked by with their dogs and called, “Hello!”
Our “new” brown shingle house had a porch, but no swing. In 1954, the only thing ever kept on that porch was my bike. One May day that changed.
It was Sunday. After church, my folks took me to visit Gramma and Grampa at The Farm. They sat around the living room, drinking coffee and talking. B-o-r-i-n-g! I decided to go out and explore the barn. I pulled on my jacket and called, “I’m going to the barn.”
Grampa said, “Don’t touch the tractor.”
Mother added, “Stay out of the hay loft.”
No animals lived at the farm, but Grampa stored hay for a farmer in his loft and a mostly paintless tractor stood in a big open space. Rusty tools leaned against the walls and birds fluttered among the rafters. Sometimes a barn cat hid her nest of new kitties on in hay fallen from the loft.
I moved the heavy sliding door enough to skinny through to the unlit interior and poke around. That day, I discovered an old wood porch swing in a pile of other discards. It was dirty, but no parts were broken and it still its now-rusty chains. Oh boy!
I burst into the house. “Guess what I found!”
Mother smiled. “Kitties?”
Grampa shook his head. “Not this time of year.”
“A porch swing!”
Mother frowned. “Porch swing?”
Grandma piped up. “That old thing!”
“It is dirty. The chains are rusted, but it’s all there!”
Mother nodded. Daddy stared out the window.
I continued. “Can I take it home? There are hooks for it in our porch! I saw them.”
Mother frowned. “It’ll be so dirty.”
“I’ll wash it! I will! I can use the hose.”
She looked at my dad. “What do you think, Frank?”
“I’ll have to check those ceiling hooks. And, it’ll probably need paint, too.”
I put in, “I’ll paint it! I can paint it!”
Daddy looked at his good pants. “Maybe next time.”
“You won’t get dirty. I’ll help. We can put it in the trunk!”
Mother looked at me doubtfully. “I can’t help you with this. I have other projects for spring.”
“I can do it! Don’t worry.”
Mother smiled a little and turned to Gramma. “Do you want that old thing?”
“No.” Gramma , shook her head. “I prefer the new porch glider.”
Mother turned back to Daddy, her eyebrows raised. He said, “OK. Junior. But this is your project. Your mother and I are painting the house trim this month.”
In 2012, I visited my old house and, the swing is still there! It’s not the same cream color of the house trim that I painted it, but it looks every bit as loved as when I first brought it home.
Much has changed in half a century, but not that porch swing.
M. Joan 21