When we moved to Swainsboro in the summer of 1961, we realized we were not in Kansas anymore – borrowing a pun from the classic move “The Wizard of Oz.”
We didn’t know it then, but we were country to the bone. Our ways and means of doing anything sort of clashed with the way citizens of Lake Luck did it, but, gradually, we overcame our shortcomings and prevailed. Somewhere along the journey, our neighbors found themselves trying to keep up with us, The Johnsons.
We were front porch sitters and mama and papa found themselves waving at all the neighbors as they passed by our house. They were surprised that no one took the effort to wave back or join them with a neighborly chit-chat on the front porch.
We had moved from the friendly town of Garfield where porch sitting had become a daily ritual for most country folk. Two old maids sat on their long, wrap-around porch from morning to night. They could tell you all the news about what was going on in Garfield. They could tell who had a happy marriage or who was on the doorstep to divorce. They saw things from their front porch that no one else was aware of. Those rocking chairs had become an extension of their anatomy. So, when they stood up to stretch their legs, their rear ends had become as flat as a pancake from sitting there all day long.
Porch sitting applied to almost anyone in and around Garfield. We shelled the majority of fresh butterbeans and peas on the front porch, and the restless dogs and cats found refuge from the summer heat there.