A Front Porch View

Summer Storms.jpg

I’ve been grabbing some much needed and overdue front porch time in my homestate of Virginia this week. The view above is from a couple of nights ago as a late evening thunderstorm rolled into the valley where I grew up. That particular storm blew the roof off the Virginia Transportation Museum in downtown Roanoke. I know that probably didn’t make the A.P. wire, but it sure got the attention of folks around here.

Besides sitting on the front porch taking in an eyeful of Blue Ridge Mountains, here are a few of my other favorite things to do when I’m in Virginia:

  • Eating biscuits slathered with Virginia apple butter for breakfast while my Mom catches me up on who’s died, divorced and generally done what to whom
  • Rummaging through the basement, attic and my old room and discovering some long lost treasure
  • Running the same country roads that I trained on as a teenager and getting chased by the barking, snarling canine progeny of the same dogs that chased me in the late 70s. Talk about adding a little “gitty-up” to your step
  • Lapsing into my native southwest Virginia lilt when I talk with family and old friends, saying things like “Vah-GIN-ya” and “YES-tiddy” for “yesterday.”
  • Visiting the Roanoke City Market and having a “dog with the works” from the Roanoke Wiener Stand
  • Placing an American flag on my father’s grave since I wasn’t able to be here on Memorial Day
  • Worshiping at the church where I grew up with the now aged saints who in their 20s, 30s and 40s worked hard to make sure that I grew up knowing my Bible, fearing God and behaving like a decent person. In postmodern, emerging church vernacular, that’s known as “spiritual formation.”

If I have time after all that, I may even visit my old high school and reminisce a little about the so-called “Glory Days.” The Boss would approve.

Actually, I’m very happy to live in the present and frankly wouldn’t want to do it all over again. But there’s something to be said for getting in touch with your roots and drawing a little nourishment from memories of the past.

I may live in the “big city” now, but when you get down to it, “you can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy.” Especially when he settles down on the front porch on a muggy July evening and watches God ride in on clouds of thunder.

Praise the LORD from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,

lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,

you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars…

Psalm 148:7-9

  1. DAVID u

    Isn’t IT nice…………..sorry.


  2. Nancy

    I was trying to get to Boston this week, had to stop in Virginia because we almost ran out of fuel. (Baltmore airport closed for three hours so we went around and around until we lost too much fuel.) Landed in norfolk. Didn’t get to Boston until ten hours after we had planned. Had to use MUCHO Visine to make my meeting — slept all the way home that afternoon, accidently leaned on the guy next to me in the plane.


  3. Mike the Eyeguy


    Whether it’s Florence, Iuka or Roanoke, a good ol’ fashioned homecoming is good for the soul.


    It is, and I didn’t know how good I had it growing up. Downtown Roanoke is a fascinating tour of early to mid 20th century architecture, and it did my heart good to see so many buildings being restored rather than razed.


    Please come back to Virginia again, I’m not sure your recent exposures did it justice. Oh, and go easy on the Visine. Too much of that stuff is bad for the old peepers.

  4. Kate

    I miss VA, even if I lived in occupied territory. I made into God’s country enough to appreciate the state. I always felt a certain kinship to Virginians; they remind me of Idahoans.

  5. Mike the Eyeguy


    I’m guessing you lived in a major metro area (NOVA, Richmond or Norfolk). When you get into the countryside, especially SW where I grew up, folks tend to be salt-of-the-earth conservative, regardless of political party affiliation.

    Thanks for stopping by. I like your blog.


    A little Visine is fine for “special occasions.” It’s just that some folks I see put it by the gallon when they should be using a good quality artificial tear instead.

  6. Mike the Eyeguy

    Nancy and David–

    Sorry I accidentally deleted a couple of your previous comments. I’m getting killed with spam comments and every now and then as I mass delete I unintentionally include some good ones too.

    I’m still trying to get a handle on this spam and try to figure out how to block it. I never had this problem with Blogger. Strike one for WordPress.

  7. Ed

    Wish I could walk out my front door and take a picture like that. Nice job.

  8. Mike the Eyeguy


    Thanks, you know me and my great photography skills (heh). But I’m thinking there are going to be some great shots to be taken around that new house of yours in the woods.

    After all the boxes are put away, that is.

  9. Donna

    Note to self: you don’t care when Mom updates you on all these scarecly known relatives die….don’t do it to your kids…

    Lovely picture. Going home is always good….even when it is only 25 minutes away.

  10. Mike the Eyeguy

    Ah, I don’t mind, but it’s all the juicy tidbits on the friends I grew up with (e.g. who’s in jail, shacking up with a 20-something young thing, or died after getting caught in a combine) that I live for!

  11. Tom P

    Your picture makes me long for Western NC, where I grew up. What a great shot! Hope to see you and family soon.

  12. Mike the Eyeguy

    Thanks for stopping by Tom. Glad the picture evoked some memories of those beloved mountains of yours. Hope to see you soon too.

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