COBWEB CORNERS: Sitting on the porch
By Mel McFarland
That was an art, back in the past. Many of the older homes along our streets still have some fine porches. A friend of mine worked on a house over on West Pikes Peak. Once the porch was ready, a new swing was installed and he could be found there every evening, after supper. It was a way to spend the evening, enjoying the cool breezes.
People walked around the block now and then too. They knew their neighbors, and conversations could be heard over a hedge or fence, with someone on a porch. For some it was even a chance to have a quiet stroll past some of the stores along Colorado Avenue. Not many were open, though at least one or two grocery stores might stay open until dark.
Traffic was mainly on the sidewalk. Not many carriages or wagons rolled by at night, and riders on horseback were few. There might be the sound of music from some of the open doors, but it was not radio or television. It was probably a creation from someone in the home, perhaps even a husband or wife singing while cleaning up after dinner. Here and there you might find someone with the latest newspaper, but they more commonly could be found inside, by a lamp. Kids, in the summertime, might be playing in someone's yard. Once school started, that usually ended before dark.
Sitting on the porch did not end when the radio came along, except when you couldn't hear it out the window. With some radios you had to be close. Cars did not help either. They added to the noise. That made it less enjoyable to be out on the porch. Even those out in the country today hardly know what real silence is. Television certainly killed porches. Every now and then I see someone out on their porch with a portable TV, and often as not, they have an earphone with it.
Then there are the bugs. If there is a good breeze, things can be all right, but there are places you have to have screens. There was even a time when the finer houses had porches upstairs, so you could sleep outside. In my neighborhood there is only one house with a real porch. I only lived in one house that had one you could really enjoy. I still like to go out and sit on the steps, but you cannot beat a good swing!