During the seventies, the weekly TV show "The Waltons" was a hit at our house. I loved their big family, their white farmhouse in the mountains, and especially their huge front porch. I remember Grandma shelling peas while sitting on the porch rocker, Mary Ellen complaining about her life while lounging on the porch swing, and Mama greeting everyone with a smile on her front porch as she welcomed them in. I dreamed of having their life...but maybe with a bit more money and some nicer clothes.
I had a vision for our own front porch many years ago when I got our large porch swing as a Mother's Day gift, which was much more enjoyable than the clothesline I received for that same holiday a couple of years earlier.
The vision continued as I received my first porch rocker for another Mother's Day gift and had the porch floor replaced in 2014. Then in 2015 we finally repainted it, and this year I woke up on Mother's Day to a second porch rocker so that I now have the symmetry my OCD self yearned for.
After acquiring the porch rockers from Cracker Barrel, the final part of my dream involved sheer white curtains. This proved to be a more challenging task than I ever imagined because there are iron poles connected to either ends of our porch. Those poles can't be removed, and their height and width aren't your typical window size.
I figured I could either buy shower curtains or long drapes with grommets. That way I could attach them with shower hooks. It turned out that none of the shower curtains were long enough, and I would have to purchase at least three window panels for each side. I didn't want to spend a lot of money since these would be outside in the elements all summer. I thought it would be easy to find what I was looking for. I was wrong. I went to TJ Maxx, Home Goods, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, but I couldn't find what I wanted. Everything was either too thick or too expensive or not the right size or there weren't enough in stock or not grommet style. So I finally patronized the one story that everyone else I know frequents but that I avoid at all costs: Walmart. And it was there that I found the exact sheer panels I was looking for with the grommet openings for only $7/panel. And as luck would have it, they had exactly six of them. Then my daughter and I found these cute shower hooks that we thought would look perfect to hang them, so we bought three packages of them too for $8/package.
I was so excited to get home and hang these curtains on these shower hooks that were rust-proof and guaranteed to not slip out of the shower curtains. What was I thinking?! These work perfectly with shower curtains that have slits for openings, but they are obviously not made to hold grommet-style curtains. This was definitely one of my most daft moments. I ran upstairs to our bathroom and tore down our shower curtain so I could use the cheap, round, clear plastic hooks. Then I searched the bathroom closet because I knew I had extra hooks in there. Unfortunately, they were the same style as the ones I just bought, only very corroded. So I hurried up to the cabin and took down that shower curtain as well. I still needed another twelve round curtain hooks. I turned around and there on the shelf was another package of mismatched shower curtain hooks...but only nine of them. I brought them all down to the house and hung the curtains with what I had, dreading to go back to Walmart to buy yet another package of these stupid hooks. You can't just get them individually; it's a package of twelve or none at all.
So with the aid of my youngest daughter (who had Cowboy Day at school that morning), we hung the curtains and did a quick photo shoot with three grommets not attached to the iron pole. And the hooks were of all different styles and colors.
That evening I had to take our son and his friend to a middle school dance, so after dropping them off, I headed back to Walmart. I had a great time because I had my best friend along, and we chatted and chatted, not really paying attention to anything around us. We just enjoyed some girl time out away from most of our children (my teen daughter tagged along in hopes of a trip to the mall.) I went through the self-checkout line and bought the $1.26 package of clear, round, plastic curtain hooks, and shoved the receipt in my purse as I eyed the tiki torches near the exit and continued talking with my friend. It was a fun night for all of us, but when I got home and looked for the shower hooks to finish hanging my curtains, I couldn't find them anywhere. And I realized that I left them at the checkout in Walmart while I was busy conversing with my friend.
So the next day I went to Ollie's and bought the same hooks for
$.95 and kicked myself for not shopping there for them to begin with.
The curtains were hung, and my vision was complete. However, I hadn't given much thought to how I would keep them in place. The winds just whip them around everywhere. My friend told me her aunt sewed rocks into the bottoms of her porch curtains. I placed some of our larger river stones in the bottom pockets of these sheer drapes, but all that did was create noise as they scraped and rolled across the porch floor. Then when it got super windy, they flew up and around, and those river stones went flying. My white sheer curtains became weapons directed at anyone out there on the porch. So I've given up and just allow them to float and wave and fly wherever the wind takes them. Porch sitters just have to get used to the curtains brushing over their shoulders or their heads as they sit and read and drink their coffee or G & T's.
A few finishing touches were added. Two hanging baskets arrived from my children as additional Mother's Day gifts this year.
And when I couldn't decide what to place in the empty space next to the front door, I decided to use the picnic basket we got as a wedding gift and my husband's work boots that are a bit scruffy but not currently coated in manure. The food was just for the photo shoot, of course; most of the time it's filled with one of our annoying cats who end up using my porch displays every season for their beds.
Now my vision is complete for the summer where our front porch is concerned. This is where I chose to celebrate my 48th birthday this past week as I relaxed in a sundress with a glass of Chardonnay in the early evening. I suppose this is my version of being on the Waltons' porch in the Appalachians, only with wine instead of the Baldwin sisters' "recipe."