Usually, when I turn into my neighborhood, I press the button on my garage opener thingy and pull right on into the Bat Cave, not to be seen again until I go out on my next bat adventure.
That’s what’s wrong with the world. We just keep to ourselves and don’t know our neighbors. While I know one set of my neighbors, I don’t know the others. For all I know, they may be The Riddler, The Penguin or the Joker, although I like to think I’m the only Joker in this neighborhood.
We’ve been spending a lot of time out in the country at my mawmaw and pawpaw’s farmhouse. We absolutely love it out there. There’s nothing like sitting on that old wooden porch way out in the country amongst the lizards and birds and bees, oh my! The homeplace sits just off a paved road on a dirt road and is just a couple of miles from the Tallapoosa River.
The 5 o’clock traffic can be overwhelming at times. The other day, a four-wheeler and an ATV drove by at the same time. That was rush hour. The lady driving the four-wheeler was in her pajamas. When she came back by a few minutes later, she had a kid with her. Maybe she stole him off someone’s front porch. I don’t know.
My dad and many of his siblings were born in that house. Every time I go there, it stirs up beautiful childhood memories of “wrasslin”, food, and family get-togethers.
My mawmaw was one of the best cooks to ever come out of God’s kitchen. From what I hear, her possum was delicious when cooked with sweet potatoes.
I remember eating mawmaw’s rolls and banana pudding more than anything else. I also remember taking my plate outside and sitting down with my little legs dangling off the side of the porch during the family get-togethers. My dad and uncle would sit in the rocking chairs and talk, chew, and spit off the porch before, during, and after lunch. I had to be careful, though, because daddy was blind. I had to stay out of his line of fire.
One of my favorites songs is “If the World had a Front Porch” by country music artist Tracy Lawrence:
“If the world had a front porch like we did back then,”
“We’d still have our problems but we’d all be friends,”
“Treating your neighbor like he’s your next of kin,”
“Wouldn’t be gone with the wind,”
“If the world had a front porch, like we did back then.”
The front porch is a place where many of us recall some our fondest memories with family and friends. It’s also a place where new memories are made.
It should be a place where we put down our phones and listen to nature and family, not to mention our friends and neighbors who just happen to stop by. They didn’t have a reason; they had an open invitation. When I was a kid, we called that “viztin.”
Jody Fuller is from Opelika, Ala. He is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, please visit www.jodyfuller.com.