Tanja Warner has the kind of porch that makes people want to slow down and visit for a while. (Rita LeBleu / American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, June 09, 2014 12:42 PMSome porches are a mere afterthought. Others are an invitation to slow down, sit a spell and visit — or just relax in solitude. The one pictured here is located in Singer, La. The house doesn’t sit close to the highway, but still, it’s a place that gets noticed, according to the home’s owner, Tanja Warner. “A lot of people tell me that they can still picture my momma and daddy sitting on the porch when they pass by,” she said.
Her parents were Kermit and Mae Nelson. The porch now wraps around her childhood home, a recent improvement. The new landscaping includes the old-fashioned flowers that were there when she was growing up – hydrangeas.
The porch was to her family, another essential living space like the dining area or home office. It was the place where her father, a preacher, counseled and visited with preachers and congregants. It’s where her parents sat and swatted flies as they visited with each other and their friends. It’s where her mother served up tomato sandwiches, fresh from the garden.
“Daddy had a tomato garden and sold some of them, but he gave more away than he sold,” Warner recalled.
In the spot where her father grew his tomatoes, Warner, 63, has put in her first garden, using ideas from Pinterest, her dad’s old washtubs and a plastic owl named Hector. “I don’t know why I named him that. He just looked like a Hector. (Warner’s garden is fanciful, so she didn’t necessarily take Hector home to help deter rabbits and birds, but he may help with that.)
“Sometimes I sit out there and talk to him. His head bobbles with the wind and it can look like he’s listening,” she said, chuckling.
Warner has harvested a few peppers, some squash and cucumbers. Next year she plans to grow enough to give away, like her father did.
Warner said that her mother loved to talk, but always allowed her husband to be center stage. “After his death in 1984, she was free to reign over the direction of porch conversations. Other times she was content to just sit and watch the traffic go by. She died in 2003.
“Momma never liked air conditioning. I remember her sitting on the porch and saying that she sure would like to visit with an old timer,” Warner recalled. She was in her 80s. “Sometimes someone would stop,” Warner added.
The lure of certain porches, like the Nelson-Warner porch, is one that’s hard to pass up.