Passing the Porch


“I just want to go home,” I told hubby, after hours of researching fly fishing trips in states I knew nothing about. “I just don’t think I want to fly anywhere right now, and I miss home.”


In the fiery heat of August, a bucket list trip to the mountains to go fly fishing for my birthday sounded like the perfect getaway. Until in my post-moving fatigue, I started looking for guides, lodging, and flights. Then my brain was flooded with so many choices, like walking into a Costco without a shopping list. I was already low on gas and trying to map out new destinations. 


And what happened to direct flights? Evidently, they were wiped out by their own pandemic. Trying to make connecting flights in an era of never-ending flight delays, cancelations, and ‘flightmares,’ was just not appealing to my weary soul. I was looking for peace, comfort, and the coolness of mountain lodges, not a stuffy overcrowded overnight stay in an airport terminal. Thus, flying was out, and a drive it was, preferably away from the Texas Heat Dome of 2023. My choice was clear. Sweet home Alabama.


Now I’ve read that eagles primarily stay in one nest, returning year after year, adding to it until it can become six to twelve feet in diameter. They also are territorial, and may have another nest within their territory, alternating homes every year. It appears to me, I am part eagle, with territories in Texas .. and Alabama. Call me bi-polar, I call them both home. As I cross Mobile Bay, my breath changes, relaxes, sighs in relief. Beauty, stars, sand, massive oaks, sweet southern Drawls, and savory seafood are close at hand. The salt air fills my lungs, and they expand with joy. Pelicans greet us flying beside our car as we cross the bay. All is right in the world. I am back to my second home.


Now mind you, the porch has passed. We drove by it, and it looks very sad and neglected. I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you it was painful to ‘pass that porch’. Especially to someone who is not showing it the love I did. I suppose some people just live in houses like they are only shelter. No can do. My tentacles cover every inch of a home with love and beauty. It is a living backdrop for my loved ones living in community. It breathes, it holds us, it imprints memories in our souls.


I can still remember both of my grandparent’s porches. Memaw and PawPaw’s porch in Houston was enclosed toward the backyard, where I spent hours listening to BJ Thomas while I dreamed of being his girlfriend. My grandparents entertained countless friends in their little backyard off that porch, sipping Schlitz and Pearl beer while we cousins played in the flower bed turned sandbox. I could watch my Memaw cook in her tiny kitchen from that porch, and still remember the coffee and cinnamon smell of her little pantry.  My Mom’s parents lived out in the country on farm and cattle land. Their porch by contrast was open air on the front of an old dog run house where we would sit in the afternoons and speculate where Aunt Pete or cousin Chester might be going as they kicked up dust speeding down the red dirt road in front of the house. While the front porch was reserved for sitting and rocking, the back porch had a wash tub for bathing while looking out over the pasture, chicken coop, meat house, and garden. At night before bed, it became the outdoor toilet as we carefully positioned ourselves to pee off the porch. An easy task for the menfolk, but an acquired skill for us gals, requiring good knees for squatting, and even better balance.


Porches have a slower pace to them. There is no rushing on a porch. No one is trying to get anywhere other than their spot with their ice tea, coffee, or glass of wine. Porches sit still. Frozen in time, claiming their occupants with them. The only thing that can wander off a porch besides your dog or your kids is your mind, thus … porch notes. So, for me, passing the porch where porch notes were born, was no walk in the park. There is part of me still sitting there with my journal in my hand, writing, as I take breaks to look out over the lagoon. Noting the tides and the currents, waiting for heron, pelicans, and eagles. That porch is still as much a part of me, as I of it. I may have ‘passed the porch’, but it has certainly not passed me.


As we once again indulge in the water, the sands, and under these massive Alabaman oaks that shade us in beauty and cooler temperatures, you can bet I will be dreaming of the porches that made me, and perhaps the ones yet to come. The ones I’ll write upon, and that will write upon the memories of my own precious grands.


For this eagle loves her nest in Texas with all my loved ones, but my spirit also soars in Sweet Home Alabama. Where the skies are so blue. Sweet Home Alabama. Lord I’m coming home to you.



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