Just the Words Shifts Your Mood and Awakens Memories of those Old Wood Family Name Signs

by Thom Inman - Master Craftsman and Western Red Cedar Expert

The sound of those words alone, can shift my mood, shape my posture, awaken my memory and conjure images of rocking chairs and porch swings. I can almost feel the cool breezes on warm afternoons. Can you? Simply thinking about the porch on the house I grew up in lowers my blood pressure and reduces my stress. It was my place for reading, rocking, storytelling and sharing with family, neighbors and friends. It was a fort, a rocket ship, a safe harbor and sanctuary.

The porches of our lives hold fond and vivid memories for families. All of our greetings and partings of family and friends take place there. For most, the porch became the outdoor living room - a place to spend hours sitting and talking with family and friends. Folks didn't really used to think much about their porches - most people had them and used them. It was just there, open and social, an unincorporated part of the house that belonged to everyone and no one. It was the heart and soul of home where for family and friends to passed the time.

I would venture to say that more of life's issues were resolved on the front porches of my childhood than in any other place. Today, televisions, computers, cell phones, air conditioners and privacy fences have usurped the porch for stairs and stoops. I mark the disappearance of the porch with the declining popularity of Halloween, the appearance of the ATM and our fascination with drive up windows.

With so many things pulling us away, it may take some special effort to get back, "out on the porch". We've become accustomed to watching the kids whack the waffle ball, chase the dog and celebrate birthdays - out on the deck. Don't get me wrong it can be nice out there; but, in all these years I've not come to know my neighbors the way I did when I lived in the house with the big front porch. About the best we can muster is a wave when we are getting into our cars.

This is all quite contrary to the human spirit and my experience is folks find ways to balance the ledger. Which brings me to my point...Does your porch say Welcome? Do you have a cheerful porch? The front door gives a glimpse of the personality of a home and its owner. The entrance to the place you call home speaks volumes about who lives beyond the door. No matter how big or small your porch, it can call out a warm welcome to guests with a little creativity. Dress it up on holidays and get yourself one of those ubiquitous outdoor welcome signs that are hand carved into cedar and offer a friendly, Hello! Remember, it is your front porch, the place where you welcome others into your life.

May the Forest be with you!