Sweeping porches is a neglected art

??It?s a chore seldom done at any place you don?t personally call your own. You might, for a friend in serious need, load a dishwasher or fold a load of laundry. You might even look after her toddler, if she is busy, God forbid, throwing up with the flu. But you?ll not likely sweep off any porch, anywhere, unless is belongs to you.? ?Sharon Randall

Proving once again that I spend too much time on the Internet, I was searching through online newspapers prowling for topic ideas or anything interesting.

Sharon Randall is a columnist out of Las Vegas, and one of my favorites for an occasional feel-good story. She?s good at pointing out the obvious, but more often overlooked, significance in just about anything.

Like front porches. Specific?ally about how sweeping a front porch turns any place into your place.

I thought about it and understood her point. I remember my mom sweeping our porch when I was small and how that image conjures up memories that characterize the word ?home.? And I can imagine her mother doing exactly the same thing to their screened porch on a sultry South Carolina evening.

Even though I can only remember a couple of trips back there during my childhood, that porch, stocked with boiled peanuts and sweet tea, is crystal clear in my mind. Now that was a front porch.

I realized that I can count the times I?ve swept my own front porch on one hand. Actually, maybe four fingers if I concentrate really hard. And I think one of those times it was technically my husband with the broom.

I guess I?m more likely to ?work around the mess.? I walk over the settling dirt to get to the mailbox and around the forsaken flower pots to get to the porch swing.

I love a good porch but my intentions have been better than my follow through.

But that?s one reason why autumn is so timely. And summer, spring and winter for that matter. Because here in the Midwest, we are lucky to experience four distinct seasons, even though they sometimes slide into each other undetected.

Every three months or so, we can expect the urge to reclaim ourselves in our own homes. Between spring cleaning, summer garage sales, winterizing or just setting out some pumpkins, we move on steady cycles of rearranging.

Somewhere during these shifts, I know deep down that there should be some porch-sweeping going on.

The transition we?re in now, from summer to fall, with promises of outside temperatures that are best described as football weather has to be a good thing. And mums are in season. Even I can keep mums alive, usually.

I love this time of year.

It makes me want to read on my porch swing, not on the computer. And replace the dead stalks of whatever it was I tried to grow in those flower pots with some mums.

It almost makes me want to sweep my front porch. I wonder if we still have a broom around here.

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