MY FRONT PORCH QUARANTINE
by CHARLES ROBEY
I remember watching those old black and white TV sitcoms: Andy, Aunt Bea and little Opie, sitting on their Mayberry front porch enjoying the evening summer breezes, to the tune of Andy’s big guitar. Occasionally, Barney would drop by and set a spell. Afterward, joining in genial conversation, they would all amble down to the corner ice cream parlor for a big ice cream cone.
What’s happened to our modern day society? Why not bring back those good, old front porch days again? Well, not so fast, those front porches may just be a thing of the past. Looking around our neighborhood, our home seems to be the only functional front porch house.
Why a blog of this nature? We seem to be in complex anxiety, realizing these are surely tough times for our great nation. Why not bring back some relaxing yesteryear fun, that of front porch sitting? I surely hope you can. The internet is full of suggestions for this available family fun. If you don’t have a front porch, you may substitute your back porch or deck.
Many of us are self-quartered by sheltering in place, resulting in being home-bound, and this front porch entertainment seems like a very good idea.
I trust you will understand my cabin fever wishing. Sometimes, I have to watch myself, as I have a tendency to write like I talk, start a written conversation in the middle of a sentence. Especially, when I’m roused up, I tend to hurry. And this so-called Coronavirus Pandemic has surely served this billing. I will, however, settle down a bit in the writing of this blog.
So sit back, grab a nice cup of coffee and sweet treat, then enjoy this little fiction blog properly entitled “MY FRONT PORCH QUARANTINE” Can you place yourself in this main character’s place?
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.“ (Philippians 4:6-7)
So, what’s up with you, in this unusual disaster they have suitably labeled a pandemic? Are you quarantined or simply just sheltering in place?
As for our little family, we are simply taking the listlessness of this social isolation as best we can. We are avoiding crowds, washing hands, keeping hands clear of our face, using protective paper towels, and limiting our movement at least six feet from members of our family. And above all we are prayerfully not being fearful.
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (II Timothy 1:7)
Now I ask you, have you tried this task of limited social movement within the close confines of your household? Around a table measuring four feet across. Or a bed measuring five feet across. Magicians we are not, but we are doing the absolute best we can, abiding by these uncommon advertised guidelines.
Admittedly, this six-foot social restraint does have its exceptional advantages in cases of the reverted to a position I’ve not taken in the twenty plus years of living in our comfortable homey castle we call home, that of sitting on our front porch. Consider me front porch quarantined. It does help somewhat, to get out in God's natural fresh spring air.
This all started one morning in the middle of the newly-ordered quarantine. After breakfast, just to help the wife by getting out of her hair, I moseyed out to the front porch to enjoy the fresh air and finish my morning coffee. I liked it so much, I made my front porch my place of daily quarantined abode.
As the wife often said, nothing appeals more strongly to a wife than the prospect of household independence, so to the porch I moved. In addition, this new maneuver gave the wife a bit of free alone-time amidst this legally-generated confinement. You see, the wife doesn’t mind a bit of kind hearted coaxing but she tends to resent governmental compulsion.
This newly rediscovered front-porch placement has really opened my eyes to our suburban life style. I never realized such activity was going on around our little quiet neighborhood. Neighbors are waving from cars, families are walking their little four-legged family members, and moms cheerfully call to small boys playing street baseball. Why, I’ve even resorted to talking occasionally to a neighbor or two.
Why, there goes a police cruiser. I didn’t know they still cruised the neighborhoods. That nice young policeman gave a big, friendly wave and a beep of his siren. Is that a train whistle? Just where is that train anyway? Wait, is that the across-the-street neighbor’s dog, decorating our front lawn again? He certainly won’t be getting a special treat from me today. Oh well, to each his own within our local neighborhood environs.
If only I could bring my trusty laptop out and catch up on my game playing, but the morning sun is not very forgiving this time of year. Can’t have it all, I guess. I’ll just have to settle for another of my '50s daydreams, listening to my favorite oldies but goodies radio. You see, being older than dirt and twice as gritty, the only downside to the quarantine situation is staying awake, while sitting comfortably on my warm sun-drenched porch.
One neighbor actually had the nerve to ask me as he passed by, “what are you doing sitting out here day after day? And what’s with that big Bible lying there by your feet?"
My smiling response came, “Sometimes I sit and think, other times I just sit. And by the way, you read your big box store order catalog, and I’ll continue with my Bible, and we'll see who gets the best results.”
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:22)
He quickly responded, also in jest, "I’ve been all around the world, and twice to Georgia, but I’ve never seen anything like your dedicated front porch routine.”
I haven't seen him since.
Now, for my traditional midafternoon snack, a big sixteen-ounce bottle of Coke and a delicious piece of my wife’s homemade chocolate cake, the one to die for. Hope I don’t get sugar overload. “Oh Dear, I’m ready for my routine afternoon pick-me-up,” I call.
“Don’t spill anything on my new porch mat, my love,” is her response.
“Yes, Dear,” I dutifully answer.
After that, I’ll almost be ready to wash up for super. You see, we still hold to that good old down-home meal schedule, dinner is at noon and supper is at evening time.
So how will it end, this pandemic? I guess that’s one of those “GOK”, God only knows questions. In the meantime, let’s make the most of it. If you are lucky enough to have a front porch, why not blow the dust from that old family Bible and simply sit a spell. You might be surprised with what you see, or who you might meet. Talk it all over with your blessed heavenly Father, and you may give the wife a much-needed rest. Amen!
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)
There you have it. Though fiction, I trust you can surely put yourself in this character’s shoes. If you are like me, these days are surely tough. Being retired, I’ve been so used to just getting in my SUV and going where I needed to go, whenever I needed to go and to get whatever I need to get.
However, the wife’s favorite grocery store has given us a break by designating a particular day and time for senior shopping. We are hoping when doing this shopping, we will be able to obtain the necessary items. We pray that we will, without the modern shopping battle armor.
Now, don’t forget this front porch living quarantine article, if available. And why not try some of these quarantine recommendations? They are bound to work, or at least make you a better neighbor. Amen!