I just read a wonderful article in the paper this morning. It seems there is an older community in Phoenix (and I'm sorry I don't recall which one) that is blessed with homes that all have front porches. So the folks that live in those houses are planning to "time travel" back when front porches were the center of neighborhood socializing. The residents here are turning off their televisions and setting aside a night to just set outside and get to know their neighbors!
Alternately, some neighbors will "host"...pass out the tea, or coffee, or lemonade and sit back in lawn chairs and chew the fat a bit. Others will "cruise" the neighborhood, making brief stops at each porch to break the ice, say hello, have a cup of joe before moving on to the next house.
I think that's just wonderful. While we don't have formal front porches in Sun City, when I first moved here I did join two of my neighbors in sitting out on the front stoops, quaffing an evening beer and telling old war stories. I enjoyed it very much.
In the 50's and 60's it was quite normal to sit out on the front porch in the evening and say hello to your neighbors, out for an evening walk. Back then you would have been considered a weird shut-in if you didn't at least know everyone on both sides of the street of your home block. That was back when everyone kept an eye on the kids, when they didn't talk back to any adult, and when any known adult felt it in his right to threaten to whip a kid's ass if he didn't act right. Frankly, Hillary Clinton and her "it take a village" liberal approach to child-raising is for the birds, there was nothing like a good kick in ass, or at minimum a harsh warning from a neighborhood adult to set you right.
But I digress. Porch sitting was a regular and pleasant thing to enjoy back when we had porches. I've read often that it's coming back. There are whole new housing projects being built that are being deemed "pedestrian friendly"..featuring wide pedestrian sidewalks, neighborhood parks and green belts designed in, with the garages placed in the back and bringing the front porch back into vogue.
I do know that when builders stopped making front porches an awful lot of folks missed them greatly. They began trying to re-capture that sense of "neighborhood" by throwing block parties where they would barricade each end of the street and roll out gas and barbecue grills and set up picnic tables right in the middle of the street. I would guess that ended when some sourpuss complained about community access...or that someone was having more fun than them.
Anyway, I envy those folks down there in front porch land....I can still remember those old Andy Griffith shows where he, guitar in hand, and Aunt Bee, and Opie, and Barney, having polished off a pork chop dinner, loosened their belt a notch, have all gathered on the porch watching fireflies and listening to crickets. Then Andy begins to quietly strum his guitar for a rousing rendition of "shoo fly pie"....front porch bliss.