Front Porch Memories

 

By WILLIE NEMAC

 

The following is reprinted from the May-June 2002 edition of Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation’s Front Porch magazine.  The author now lives in Eureka Springs.

O

ur front porch was the forerunner of the entertainment center.  Because we had no electricity, running water or any modern conveniences, we had to rely on our imaginations and everyday happenings for entertainment. 

           

The wooden porch swing could possibly hold three people, if one was small.  We would pump our legs and try to make it go as high as possible without tumping over.

           

Oh, to be the first to see a car coming down the road.  There weren’t that many cars in a day, and they would usually be traveling pretty slow so that the dust would not overwhelm the occupants.

           

We would be saying who it was in the car long before they got to our house, and there were times when we did not recognize the car or occupants.  That called for a lot of speculation, and not always from the children.

           

The adults were mighty curious, too, about who could be coming down the road and why.

           

In addition to playtime, there was always something to can or preserve in the summertime.  Since the kitchen was so hot and uncomfortable, we would get our buckets of beans, peas or whatever the canning day was and sit on the porch to do our preparations.

           

I can’t say we enjoyed snapping beans or whatever there was to do, but we could always make some kind of competition out of it.

           

In those days, we didn’t pick a little bucketful of vegetables to can in a day – we picked by the bushels.  And it was a long process before they were all done.

           

Another chore we did on the front porch was churning.  That really is not a fun thing to do, but it was better on the relatively cooler front porch than in the kitchen.

           

The mail hack would come by in the late morning and go to town (Beebe) to pick up the mail.  And it would return after about 1- hours.  We would time it, and it was amazing that their schedule would not vary from day to day, and they were always on time.

           

I grew up in White County on a dusty road between Beebe and Antioch.  It is now Highway 31, paved and quite populated.  vvv

Watching the world from their front porch is the Rice family of Antioch circa 1918.  From left are Pierce, Estella, Ethel, Eugene and Lawrence Rice.   The photo was provided by Historical Society member Mary Dean Rice Reynolds, Lawrence’s daughter, who was born here.