Posted by Jenny Christman on Tuesday, Jun 14th, 2011. (This is a post I made on my blog from school ten years ago. My sister sent it to me and I thought it was appropriate to post it this year on Father's Day.)
The weather has been so glorious the last couple of days, I actually turned off the air conditioner
and opened the windows. Then I did something I hadn't done since the fall--I went out on my back porch and sat in my porch swing. As I started rocking to and fro, I suddenly realized that the sound of the television seemed obscene so I got up and turned it off. I went back to the swing, so familiar, so comfortable. I heard an osprey fly overhead but I didn't see it. The cord grass was swaying in the wind to the beat of the creak, creak, creak of the swing. The rhythmic motion of the swing and the repetitive sound of the friction of the s-hooks took me to another time and place.
Creak, creak, creak...I am on the huge wrap-around porch of the farmhouse we rented on a dairy farm in Southwest, Virginia. My daddy is swinging in the porch swing. I am a little girl again sitting beside Daddy. My feet don't reach the floor but he pushes the swing for me. He sings "Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley", "500 Miles", and " 16 Tons". I sing along and beg him to sing my favorites over and over again. Some of the best memories of my childhood happened in that swing.
As the rhythm of the creaking continues, I am at our house on Yorktown Road. Daddy is sitting in the swing with his yellow legal pad busy writing football plays. My mom, sister, brothers, and I are all sitting around the table having a discussion. We don't realize he is even listening until he says something. If the swing stops, we know we're in for it but this time there was no hesitation in the creaking of the swing as he pushed off with his feet.
Creak, creak, creak... Mom and Dad added a dining room and a family room on to the house which eliminated the back porch. Dad moved his swing into the garage. Diabetes took one of Dad's legs but he still spent hours in the swing, pushing off with his leg. That's where we would go when we needed to talk to Dad. And then he was gone. The swing was silent. For years the swing remained in the garage, an ever reminder of Dad.
Then, when I moved onto Mosquito Creek, I asked Mom if I could have the swing for my
back porch. Mom didn't let on if she had difficulty letting go of it. I am sure she knew that I would treasure it. Creak, creak, creak...The swing is a part of my past, my present, and my future. The swing is love. The swing is family. As I keep the rhythm going by gently pushing with my feet, I realize how much this swing means to me. Happy Father's Day, Daddy.