There is just something calming about the sultry hot, humid days following all the patriotic hoopla of the 4th of July that wilts us all into subtle submission on politics.
I'll offer no apologies, shame or embarrassment for this column, as its subject is just sitting on the porch and relaxing. I come from a long generational line of porch sitters. That's right, porch sitters. You know those folks when you pass by their house, they are sitting on the porch, just sort of chilling, maybe rocking in their rocking chairs or lightly swinging in the porch swing on one end of the porch.
There is nothing quite like a good front porch. It is just too bad many modern houses don't have porches anymore.
I know many Washington and Benton County friends who have some of the most gorgeous homes anywhere. Most have a shaded, often almost secluded, porch of some kind. They might call it a garden entry, a side porch, a back porch, or an outside annex, where all kinds of chairs, rockers, love seats and, yes, a porch swing or two, are stationed.
The front porch exists as a zone between the public and private of our lives, an area that could be and should be shared between the sanctity of the home and the community outside.
Porches were an area where interaction with the community could take place. It represented the cultural ideals of family, community and nature.
Seldom out in the country were people not welcomed up on the porch to share in the shade and perhaps to draw up one of the cane-bottomed straight back chairs or a vacant rocker to sit a spell.
And rarely were the unknown visitors welcomed into the house.
But let's stick with the homespun philosophy and relaxation of resting for a minute on the porch.
That bit of country "time-out," I hope makes things come into focus.
Like our current lame-duck governor, Asa Hutchinson. He is finishing up a hard eight-year term as the state's chief executive.
He's got himself a new hairdo if you haven't noticed.
Now my hair is every bit as gray and almost as thin as Asa's. I take no shame in that and neither does he. He got a little new hair adjustment for the TV cameras and all those national Sunday talk shows.
I am not ashamed of Asa's new hairdo. It is a comb-over with a little puff to it -- it makes him look a little younger (and who wouldn't like that); it is all natural as far as these weak eyes of mine can tell and, yes, he looks more confident.
As far as his trying to get this stubborn state to take the vaccine, he is hitting the road for some "Covid Conversations."
I wish him well in that direct effort to boost the state's lagging far behind the national average for vaccinations to stop the covid-19 and all of the variants of that infection.
I'm not ashamed to be from a long line of porch sitters. Maybe if we all got on the front porch a little more often, just taking in the breeze and waiting for the stars to pop out at night, we might just relax enough for a solution to all these ills that are stymieing our state and nation.
Things are not as bad as they seem when you talk the issues out on the front porch.
Asa knows that as well.
Maybe he will see to it soon -- sitting on the front porch of the Latta House in Prairie Grove, the Headquarters House in Fayetteville, the Sanger Cabin on Siloam Springs, or Rabbit's Foot Lodge in Springdale -- his holding a relaxed covid conversation with the public in such a setting might actually get more attention for our state's young people to get the vaccine.
It might cool us all off a bit too on these Dog Days of Summer.
-- Maylon Rice is a former journalist who worked for several northwest Arkansas publications. He can be reached via email at [email protected] The opinions expressed are those of the author.