Porch Sitting In The South Quotes

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The white neighborhoods of Johannesburg were built on white fear—fear of black crime, fear of black uprisings and reprisals—and as a result virtually every house sits behind a six-foot wall, and on top of that wall is electric wire. Everyone lives in a plush, fancy maximum-security prison. There is no sitting on the front porch, no saying hi to the neighbors, no kids running back and forth between houses. I’d ride my bike around the neighborhood for hours without seeing a single kid. I’d hear them, though. They were all meeting up behind brick walls for playdates I wasn’t invited to. I’d hear people laughing and playing and I’d get off my bike and creep up and peek over the wall and see a bunch of white kids splashing around in someone’s swimming pool. I was like a Peeping Tom, but for friendship. It was only after a year or so that I figured out the key to making black friends in the suburbs: the children of domestics." (from "Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood" by Trevor Noah)
Trevor Noah (Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood)
Mostly I love Halloween because it is the orange-and-black beginning of a season that tumbles into Thanksgiving, which tumbles into Christmas. And Zombies just seem a little out of place in that. Thanksgiving should have nothing to do with armies of shuffling undead. Don’t get me started on Christmas. The only undead at Christmas should be Jacob Marley, wailing about greed. The iconic image of Halloween should be the pun’kin. The pun’kin, carved into faces that are scary only because we want them to be, winking from every porch. The pun’kin cast in plastic, swinging from the hands of knee-high princesses, leering back from department store shelves, until it gives way to tins of butter cookies. But I fear for the pun’kin. How long before before he is kicked down the street by zombie hordes, booted into obscurity? Young people tell me that no one—no one— wants to dress up like a pun’kin any more. All a pun’kin does they say is sit there, and glow. This may be true, all of it, but try to make a pie out of a zombie, and see where that gets you. Though I hear that, when it comes to pies, your canned zombie is the way to go.
Rick Bragg (Where I Come From: Stories from the Deep South)
Passing the dark, low fields just south of Harrows, Smoke saw a scarecrow that reminded him, in shape, of his mother. Inspired by it, he imagined her burning. He imagined the dresses from her closet … the curls in her blond hair … the rims of her glasses … all of it and everything blistering, bending, burning. The fire he imagined for her was blue and smelled like childhood. And childhood reminded him of the children he once knew; he imagined a girl named Merrily melted to the shape of a chair, another, Henry, sitting upon her in a classroom. He'd like to burn them all. Every face he'd ever seen. Excited now, Smoke saw the mothers of these former schoolmates rushing from their homes, desperate feet pattering on the porch boards, able to discern the smell of their own child burning above all others. Smoke would be there when they came. He'd be there with a piece of meat on a stick. Dinner over childhood's fire. Hey, Ma! This meat only gets better the longer it cooks! Moved, Smoke imagined more. Men in suits bursting into flame upon exiting church. Families sitting down to eat burnt food, blackened bread, ashen meals upon scalding-hot plates. Come on, Billy! Eat your fire! EAT YOUR FIRE!
Josh Malerman (Unbury Carol)
We followed him to a covered veranda. In America, we would call that a lemonade porch, however, in South Africa, they call it a stoep. A meeting place located outside the front of the home where friends and family can gather, and one can watch the rising or the setting of the sun in the cozy spot simply called a stoep. The stoep projected a natural ambience of peace and harmony, as a light breeze filled the space with its woodsy fragrance of pine and other natural fragrances inspired by the area’s shrubbery. It almost felt like it was hypnotizing one into a deeper state of tranquility, a state of existence that celebrated the quiet pockets of solitude where a richer from of living is housed. It made one slouch a little more meaningfully and relax the muscles of your body a little more conscientiously, as you let go of one’s innate need to think – to think to the point of hyper focusing on the meaningless details of life, for example, the incessant need to make every moment in life count… Yet, the stoep’s lesson of deeper living is simply the gift of becoming reacquainted with the joy of just being – open yet connected to now, without a higher purpose beyond that. Sometimes, the greatest gift that we can give ourselves is just to sit in the rawness of the moment without any outcome or intention in mind – except, to breathe in the life of the area around us. That is where my afternoon’s lesson ended, knowing that a stoep is a space where quality of human connection is made with or without the presence of any audience because it’s that space that celebrates the stillness of nothing and yet everything simultaneously, or in the words of Rumi: “In order to understand the dance, one must be still. And in order to truly understand the stillness, one must dance.” In South Africa that concept is lovingly called…Die Stoep, a space of possibility.
The way he learned to sing was by imitating the songbirds: their warbles and whistles, their scolds. Before his stroke he'd been able to imitate certain notes and melodies of their calls, but never whole songs. I was sitting under the umbrella with him, in early March-March second, the day the Texas Declaration of Independence had been signed, when Grandfather began to sing. A black-and-white warbler had flown in right in front of us and was sitting on a cedar limb, singing-relieved, I think, that we weren't owls. Cedar waxwings moved through the brush behind it, pausing to wipe the bug juice from their bills by rubbing their beaks against branches (like men dabbing their mouths with napkins after getting up from the table). Towhees were hopping all around us, scratching through the cedar duff for pill bugs, pecking, pecking, pecking, and still the vireo stayed right there on that branch, turning its head sideways at us and singing, and Grandfather made one deep sound in his throat-like a stone being rolled away-and then he began to sing back to the bird, not just imitating the warbler's call, but singing a whole warbler song, making up warbler sentences, warbler declarations. Other warblers came in from out of the brush and surrounded us, and still Grandfather kept whistling and trilling. More birds flew in. Grandfather sang to them, too. With high little sounds in his throat, he called in the mourning doves and the little Inca doves that were starting to move into this country, from the south, and whose call I liked very much, a slightly younger, faster call that seemed to complement the eternity-becking coo of the mourning dove. Grandfather sang until dark, until the birds stopped answering his songs and instead went back into the brush to go to roost, and the fireflies began to drift out of the bushes like sparks and the coyotes began to howl and yip. Grandfather had long ago finished all the tea, sipping it between birdsongs to keep his voice fresh, and now he was tired, too tired to even fold the umbrella. .... I was afraid that with the miracle of birdsong, it was Grandfather's last night on earth-that the stars and the birds and the forest had granted him one last gift-and so I drove slowly, wanting to remember the taste, smell, and feel of all of it it, and to never forget it. But when I stopped the truck he seemed rested, and was in a hurry to get out and go join Father, who was sitting on the porch in the dark listening to one of the spring-training baseball games on the radio.
Rick Bass (The Sky, The Stars, The Wilderness)
The two of us sat back down in the swing and continued sitting side-by-side the first Day of June; moving to-and-fro in the swing on the front porch. A soothing summer breeze caught a ride on the south wind and blew across our faces. I enjoyed endless days and nights sitting, sighing, lying, walking, and talking alongside my best friend..." Lone Walk From Panther Creek
Kat Kaelin
We aren’t slow in the South; we just savor our moments. Southerners can sit on a porch all afternoon trying to guess the color of the next car that comes around the bend. Every time you guess right, you win. What do you win? Why, nothing but pride and the contentment of spending a beautiful afternoon outside with family and friends. And down here, that’s everything.
Deborah Ford (Grits (Girls Raised in the South) Guide to Life)