Thursday, February 10, 2011


Recently I've been commenting on modern technology. I now want to say a few words about some more traditional technology -- the front porch.

Years ago nearly every house had a porch (called a "pizer" on Ocracoke). Before television, the Internet, and air conditioning, folks sat on the porch in the morning, the late afternoon, the early evening...actually anytime they had a few minutes to sit and relax. I love my porch. When the weather warms up we sit out there almost every morning, watching the day wake up, listening to the song birds, and drinking a cup of coffee (well, Lou Ann has coffee...I have a glass of orange juice).

In the afternoon we sometimes have a few minutes to sit a spell. We pull down the bamboo shades or the sun would get unbearable. But we never pull them down all the way -- we want to feel connected. We can always see the sandy lane, so we wave to folks who walk by, chat awhile if neighbors or friends stop for a few minutes, and often invite people up on the porch.

After supper, and late at night, if the bugs aren't too bad, we often sit in the porch swing and talk about the day, visit with friends, and share cool drinks. We like it when folks stop to visit. Front porches help build community. And that's community with actual human beings, not pixels on a computer screen.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Sam Jones, Island Legend. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous7:24 AM

    You are right Philip I love my screened in Ocracoke front porch!

  2. Anonymous8:21 AM

    Front porches are returning, I've heard, after folks realized that although backyard decks are functional and serve a purpose, decks can sometimes isolate too much.

    Philip, I will always hold fond memories of that breezy October day in 2009 when you invited me to "sit a while" in the rocking chair @ the Ocracoke Community Store front porch. It was like extending a warm handshake or sharing a glass of ice tea, yet it was instead, just good conversation, watching the activity pass by on the front porch!

    Didn't cost a dime, but to me....priceless!

    Oh, how's the view of the snow this a.m. from your own charming front porch????

  3. I love my front porch! The Back Rd. Parade always keeps me entertained. A cigar and a beer top off the whole experience!

  4. I didn't even step out onto my front porch this morning...but I did get a view of the snow (actually just a few pellets mixed in with mostly rain) from my outdoor shower. It's about 35 degrees right now.

  5. Julie S.11:11 AM

    I'm one of those to whom you waved as I walked by, years ago. Only one of the many things that left me with such a warm feeling of community that keeps me holding on until retirement allows us to come and STAY!

  6. Anonymous3:21 PM

    Philip-there you go again-painting all those lovely mental pictures of your life on the island. If even just half of the people dreaming of retiring to Ocracoke really do-aren't you a bit concerned that your poor little island might sink?

  7. I love front porches too!! I suppose it all depends where you live and your homestead. My "front porch" where I see my neighbours walk by and wave a friendly hello and comment on my gardens, is actually my backyard deck. The deck that my dear brother-inlaw built for me some years ago and I have been enjoying immensely ever since! I've had many friends over for afternoon/evening chats...I walk out onto it in the cold crisp nights of winter..even for a winter barbeque in Canada! So, kudos to the "porches" of life! It's all about welcoming people and friends into your life.

  8. Anonymous7:17 AM

    Sounds lovely!