The day was hot for late September, dark clouds rumbled in the distance as I headed back to the house for our mid-day meal and for cooling down a bit. I could see Uncle Frank’s 56 pale green Chevy parked in the driveway. That meant a longer time to rest. Uncle Frank and Daddy did like to visit and sit a spell on the porch before heading back to the fields. My dog Cookie and I found a place to sit and relax.
I could smell the scent of pork chops, collards, and sweet potatoes coming from the kitchen. Daddy and Uncle Frank were sitting in the rocking chairs and Uncle Frank asked him if he was close to getting all the tobacco cropped. Daddy sat quietly for a while watching the gathering rain clouds and listening to the thunder getting louder. After a long silence, he finally looked at Uncle Frank and said “Yep!”
They sat there a bit longer just rocking, finally, Daddy said “looks like we might get a rainstorm before long.” They rocked back and forth, Daddy took out his case knife and started whittling on a piece of oak. The silence grew long and finally Uncle Frank said “Yep!”
Daddy often told me that I should talk less and listen more. He always told me that you learned from listening, not from talking. He called it front porch sitting and there was a lot of time spent with friends and family on that porch. It did rain hard that day and Cookie and I didn’t have to go back to the fields so we just sat there listening and learning.
I was always amazed at how few words they used, but I always knew a lot of wisdom was being passed around. I learned to find the words within the silence and that skill is a large part of who I am. I will never forget those days spent on the front porch and I cherish the few words that were said.