My Mother's Front Porch
By Sheila Kelsey Leggett

Memorial Day brings back fond memories of my mother's front porch.. We lived in a white house with the wrap-around porch on the parade route. Mother was of the opinion that those who could see onto the front porch would equate the scene with how she kept house. No junk allowed!  Preparations for Memorial Day would start days before with the mopping and hosing down of the entire front area, (my job), my brother would hose down and clean the monstrously heavy glider/three-cushioned couch that was a mainstay of porch furniture back in the day. My dad was in charge of coals on the barbecue and ice for beverages. 

The flowers (pots of geraniums) were delivered days before and put on the sides of the front steps, and egg whites (for whiskey sours) were left out in a bowl overnight to make those sours extra special (don't ask, I have no idea). My Aunt Peg made the best deviled eggs ever and we couldn't wait for her and Uncle Ray to arrive (he of the Battle of the Bulge) so those eggs could get into the fridge with the potato and macaroni salads quickly, before brother and I started to "sample."

Our towns' heroes are memorialized at the Elk's Point and the beginning of the parade site. My cousin's dad was killed in the Pacific at Corregidor. She never knew him but through extensive research and the help of Veteran's groups she was able to travel back a few years ago on the anniversary of that battle. There is a marker with his name on it as one of many honorees.  We have more than our share of heroes for the size of our town.  There were those Vets who came home after WWII and Korea who were mentally damaged but managed to stand at attention with tears running down their faces at the Elk's Point every Memorial Day and march in that wonderful parade. 

We would sit on that porch and cheer and yell out to the various bands and groups who went by. For some reason the "Colored" Elks and their contingent of veterans always got the biggest applause and cheers. God, they were magnificent. Uncle Ray didn't march, but sat quietly on the porch, with a whiskey sour in hand. We left him alone with his thoughts. He preferred it that way. People would come up on the porch to say hello, sit for a spell, have a cold whatever and do some catching up. 

I miss that house, my brother and I of course, are the only ones left. As I type this they are assembling at the Elk's Point.  The American Legion and firehouses are preparing for the throng of people who will gather there after the parade is over. I have a feeling there will not be the exuberance as in those years I remember. The celebration back then was that WWII and Korea were over, Viet Nam's pain stayed for a long time and for many a Vet of that war, still remains. 

I miss that crowd, I miss that house, and I miss that reason to celebrate. Maybe next year, maybe....