The porch does not mean the bottom step

I loved my Papa
and he loved me
so much that he’d let me sit on his lap
while he relaxed on the back porch
with his whiskey and pipe

Papa was the tall dark and handsome man in my life
he always wore a dark blue mechanics suit
buttoned halfway to show his white shirt or long johns
I never saw him in a pair of sneakers

My Granny would cook breakfast for us
bacon, eggs, grits, sausage biscuits and pancakes
with a bowl of cereal for me
he sat at the head of the table and
I sat next to him by the window facing the driveway
he never ate all of his food
only a few bites
he let me eat his bacon
until I was too full to finish my own food

he didn’t talk much
but his intentions were clear
in the few words he spoke to anyone
the longest conversation I ever heard him have
was with Mr. Berry
his friend would stop by
and give me silver coins
Papa talked and laughed with him on the front steps
I couldn’t understand what they said because
Papa ordered me back in the house
kids shouldn’t be in grown folks business

Papa always had a serious look on his face but
I could tell when he was happy
he smiled with actions
holding me tight
listening to his heartbeat
keeping him company as he tended his garden
standing close to him as he lit firecrackers for the 4th
riding in the front seat of his station wagon
to the hostess cake store down Central across Warren
I had my own sweet cakes
the breadbox on the back porch was his sweet cakes hiding place
if I ever touched them he would put a switch to my butt

I never wanted to make him mad at me
little people are sometimes hardheaded
he always watched whenever I played outside
when he couldn’t watch Papa would say
“stay on the porch”

the porch was painted gray wood that stretched across the front of the two story house
on the side closest to the open field was Granny’s white metal rocking chair
I always sat in the wooden chairs that lined the side closest to Mr. Jones’ house
the steps were five down with a cement step at the end of the walkway before the sidewalk

I did sit on the porch but the tall bushes in front made it hard for me to see
So I sat on the top step
Then slid to the next step
The bushes blocked my view even more on the bottom step
I decided that if I sat on the cement step at the end of the walkway
I could see down the block to Mr. Craig and all the way to the Bowens

I didn’t  make it to the walkway
Papas arm was raised with a switch from the tree in the backyard
“The porch is not the steps”

Next Blog: back to the start of silent consent


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