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Just a swingin’

The porch swing is perfect for sleeping away the work

You can have your rocket ships, your airplanes, your electric motors, computers, smart phones and even your basic toaster. For my money, one of the greatest inventions ever is the porch swing.

The porch swing is perfect. It’s on the porch, so there’s a roof overhead and it’s not taking up room in the house. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining. The direct sun is shielded. It brings a little bit of the nostalgic playground to the house, and it’s seat is typically big enough for two adults. And they have to sit dangerously close to each other. That’s not all bad.

It’s simplistic in its construction and concept. Our porch swing is the old-fashioned type — thin strips of oak suspended by chains from the ceiling. We found an old guy who makes them and sells them out of his yard for $35 each.

The only problem with porch swings is they ought not be placed so close to yard work.

I was trying to do a little landscaping in our front yard, but the porch swing kept beckoning. I’d dig a little, and it would call out. I’d resist. I’d dig some more. “Come, sit,” it would sing. “Take a break.”

I had moved half a dozen wheelbarrow loads of dirt, and my back did seem a little stiff. It probably would be a good idea to sit down and rest.

You can’t just sit on a porch swing without swinging, though. The very act of sitting in it causes it to swing back. And once back, it must swing forward. Just sitting down creates this swinging action. I wasn’t trying to swing. No. I didn’t even want to swing.

But swing, I did. And it was good.

My feet were lifted from the floor as I settled onto the swing, and this perpetual motion machine rocked me as a soft breeze wafted in from the south. My swing faces south, and it pushed me into the intoxicating breeze.

Soon, two pillows appeared. I must have gotten up to get them, but I can’t remember. The swing had me in its grasp. I was a zombie and ill-prepared to fight the temptation of the swing.

When my wife found me, I was lying across the swing with the pillows beneath my head. The wheelbarrow, half full of dirt, remained on the sidewalk. The tell-tale shovel leaned against a flower pot.

There was work to be done, yet I slumbered. Yes. I slept in glorious wonderment and dreamt not. (You have to talk like that when you’ve been lulled to sleep in a porch swing. It brings out the poet in you.

As I woke and grudgingly returned to my work, I thought about the guy who invented the porch swing. I praised him and cursed him. I cursed him for the delay he had caused in my work, and praised him for the precious moments of rest he had afforded me.

I’ll continue my landscaping project next weekend. And see if I can resist the lure of the swing.

David Porter who can be reached at I was going to write a new column for this week, but I sat down on the porch swing to do it. You can see how that went.

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