Monday, October 13, 2008
All Hail the Porch
A month ago, I created the Facebook group Professional Porch Sitters Union Local 1402. I've been thinking about porches in the context of community. Beside my own, my favorite porch is in Charleston, SC. It belongs to David and Carol Rawle. David is the marketing genius behind the Piggly Wiggly emporium and Carol is a fire-eating Ford model turned owner of Harry Barker, an online boutique for all things canine. I shared Thanksgiving dinner with them on this porch, which opened into a sprawling garden.
Upstairs, there was another porch. This one was the kind you see of when you think of a traditional porch. It has a white railing, long wooden floor boards, and a ceiling painted haint blue. My friend's Matt and Ted Lee shot the cover for their cookbook, The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook ,on it. The book won the Beard Award in 2007. Though porches were thought be out of fashion by the 1990s, once again they're in the spotlight. (New Urbanism has brought the porch back in vogue in places like Seaside, Florida, where those without porches experience "porch-envy.")
I asked members of the PPS Union to submit photos of their favorite porches. Chris Johnson, from Alabama, was the first to respond with this:
"My friends at a family cabin outside of Tuscaloosa. This is after a slumber party. And no, we didn't sleep on the porch, though that would have been nice. Porches make people happy!"
This came from Cristen Hemmins. Her porch in Oxford, Mississippi:
Although she did not submit a picture of her porch -- likely because she currently resides in Chicago -- Kate Talyor Battle ponders:
"What are your thoughts on outdoor kitchens? My dad changed his garage into a kitchen, fully equipped with fishing poll racks, a gun closet, and automotive supplies, neatly stored next to gallons of peanut oil, deep fryers, and a full kitchen,as well as an entire wall dedicated to deer antlers, and another wall featuring his days of dirt-track racing. (I guess we're more of a mudroom family than a porch sitter family, but my mom always loved singing that song to me from the end of The Jerk when I was a little kid, and that was definitely a porch song.)"
She brings up a good point: The creation of a porch space when a traditional one is not an option. Probably the most interesting of that variety comes from Daniel Morrow, who lives up the road from me.
"How about my upstairs porch?" he writes.