Tennessee Mountain Stories

We’re Porch People

Well a couple of weeks ago I wrote about the dog days of summer coming early and now it’s turned off cooler than we usually expect in late July.  And it’s perfect porch weather!  You may recall from an earlier post that I’m a big fan of the Cumberland Homestead and since they’ve kindly stocked my books in their Homestead Tower Museum, I’ve been spending more time in that community of late.  The museum’s curator and I were just discussing that the houses were clearly not designed by a local person because not a one of them has a decent porch – and we are porch people.

We visit on the porch, work on the porch, rock babies, pet the dog, churn butter – most anything that needs doin’ on a hot summer day can be attended to on the porch.  And while you’re there you can watch the world go by and enjoy the lush green beauty of the mountain. Porches are therapeutic.  You can look out on the work you’ve accomplished as you see rolls of hay ready for the winter or rows of beans and corn waiting to grace the supper table.  It’s a great place to share your troubles with a friend or find God’s answers to your troubles in His word.  The porch is a cool refuge from the hot sun or a dry spot in a rain shower. 

I want to pass along two great little stories people have shared with me about porches.

Along about 1940 my great uncle Edsil Stepp was visiting his oldest sister who’d married and moved to Muddy Pond.  Aunt Wealthy wasn’t one to let much grass grow under her to so I’d imagine she had him busy and he escaped in the early evening to rest a moment on the front porch.  He heard before he could see a group of girls walking along the dirt road and when they came into view he hollered a greeting.  “Where ya’ goin’?” was a natural question for him and they told him they were on their way to church.  I’m not sure whether Roasalee Sisco was concerned for his immortal soul or  if she just thought him handsome but she spoke up and said, “You ought’a come with us.”  As any young man in his right mind would do, he hopped off that porch and went on to church with them.  They were married in the winter, and remained so for the next 63 years.

AlvinCYorkhouse Original.jpg

Alvin C. York is a renowned World War I hero who hailed from the northern end of Fentress County in Pall Mall.  After Seargant York returned from the war the Nashville Rotary Club raised the money to buy him and his new bride, Miss Gracie, a home.  They build a Colonial Revival home on the 400 acre farm.  I toured the home with one of their sons who served as the park ranger there for many years.  He said her first reaction to seeing her beautiful new home, ‘we’ve got to have a porch.’  And she did – they immediately had a large front porch built.

I don’t know about you but these days I find myself running from one project to the next event or appointment.  Find some time today to sit on the porch – you’ll be glad you did.