The county courthouse I work in is practically older than dirt. It has a large front porch–for lack of a better term. It has massive, aged columns and a huge bell tower upon which stands a statue of the man the county is named after–Revolutionary War Major General Nathanael Greene. The original courtroom is big with high archways and walls lined with portraits of the judges who’ve administered justice through the courthouse’s existence. It’s a pretty impressive courthouse. But it’s the front porch I want to talk about.
The courthouse is at the heart of town. Anyone going anywhere has to pass the front of the courthouse in order to get where they’re going. There are park benches on the front porch inviting folks to sit a while. This is where I’ve come to spend my lunch breaks the past two months or so.
It’s not always easy to get out of the office and go to a restaurant for lunch, but it does occur. Usually, when that happens, my hubby picks me up and whisks me away for an hour of quiet conversation and a sandwich or a salad. I love those hours. I covet those hours because it’s a small bit of time we get together in an otherwise busy day.
If I can’t get away, I head for the front porch. I take a bottle of water, some protein biscuits, a pen and a tablet. I head for the park bench farthest from the main doors and–after stealing a glance at the clock on the bank across the street–I settle in and start working on my manuscript. I usually get half a bottle of water and two biscuits down before my mind pulls away from my work and my eyes begin to take in the sights and sounds.
One afternoon I watched a man stopped at a traffic light watch a woman cross the street. So intent was he on watching her that he turned down a one-way street and the man in the car he cut off yelled loud enough that he stopped and backed out of the one-way street and scurried on his way.
I watched a bride and groom come rushing out the front doors after one of the judges married them and instantly pose for photos, I’ve seen families pose for photos with the child they just adopted. And I’ve seen divorcing couples argue all the way down the front steps, stopping on the sidewalk to continue the heated exchange. Mostly, I watch folks hurry from one end of town to the next and back again. After all, that hour tends to fly when you fill it with errands.
It seems that no matter the heat of the day, there’s always a lovely breeze coming across the front porch. I enjoy that breeze. It relaxes me and refreshes me and energizes me to finish my day. My Dad was an accomplished porch-sitter. In the evenings after dinner and whatever chores he had to complete, he’d grab a tall glass of my Mom’s homemade iced tea and head for the front porch. He’d chat with whomever passed in front of the house, but mostly he sat quietly just soaking up the evening.
There are days when I’m sitting on the park bench and I think of him. I just know he’d enjoy sitting on that front porch with me. I hope it remains porch-sittin’ weather for a long while!
Until next time, I hope there’s a porch in your life where you can sit and recharge. May it always be perfect porch-sittin’ weather for you, too!