Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Empty Nester/Retirement (from work) (09/10/09)
TITLE: On This Porch, In This Swing
By Pamela Calhoun
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They were wondering if they would ever find anything, when one hot summer afternoon, as they passed this old house, Hank pulled over and told her; “Let’s have lunch there on that big shady porch.” It was obvious no one lived there, the yard was overgrown, one of the shutters was hanging all cockeyed. The houses were so far apart way out here in the country; “It won’t bother no one” Hank had said; “and we need to take some time to pray and ask the Lord where we’re supposed to go from here. I think we’ve looked just about everywhere there’s anything to see.”
As they were eating lunch she told Hank; “One day I want a big old porch like this, and on the end, right over there, I’d want a fine porch swing that would be long enough to fit our whole family at once. I’d put pillows at either end and always have some blankets hanging over the back, so if my babies fell asleep while we were swingin’ I could cover them up. And you would always have a place to sleep if you were in the dog house, someplace warm where I wouldn’t have to worry about you.” Looking up in protest, Hank caught the twinkle in her eye. They were both glad that no matter how hard things got, they were always able to tease each other into laughter.
The next time she saw this old porch it was hers. Hank had found the owner and “worked a deal” as he liked to call it. “I hope you like the inside,” he said when he handed her the key. She responded that it didn’t really matter, even if she didn’t, the porch would make up for it.
This old swing, Margie fondly patted the seat as she slowly swung, back and forth. She smiled remembering the day she came home from grocery shopping to see Hank sitting there, grinning from ear to ear, their twins seated on each side of him.
“Happy Birthday Mama” the boys shouted in unison as she slowly climbed the steps. “We made you a surprise Mama, come and swing with Papa.” They were jumping up and down and spinning all over the porch with excitement.
Hank had made the swing out of old boards that he had “worked a deal” for with a neighbor that was doing some remodeling. That made her love it all the more, she hated new things, Margie liked the things that surrounded her to be worn and comfortable.
So much of their life had been spent on this porch, in this swing. Prayers were prayed here, celebrations were planned, family discussions took place, the mystery of girls was discussed, boys were cried over, dates were kissed good night and debates were won and lost. Broken hearts were soothed by rocking in the breeze, like when they found out James, the older of the twins, wasn’t ever coming home from the war. Whenever the kids visited, even in the coldest of days, somehow they always ended up reminiscing, here on this porch, in this swing.
The Lord had been good to them. Things had been hard at times, but He was always there, just as He said He would be. After four children and 10 grandchildren, Margie smiled at the thought of soon holding their first great-grandchild and swinging him to sleep here.
Margie reached over and took Hank’s hand, he raised his head from the short doze he was enjoying to look up at her and they shared a smile.
“Did I ever tell you thank you for my porch swing?” she asked. “Only a million and one times” he replied with a smile.
Then Hank leaned over and asked her; “Did I ever tell you thanks for giving me the best life a man could ever ask for?”
“Only a million and two times.”
Swinging on this old porch swing, in these last few moments of each day, with her best guy, remembering the days gone by, this was her favorite part of their “golden years.”
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