It’s just an old wooden swing.
Being outside all this weekend – for the first time in several months – had me surveying the whole yard for what needed to be dug up, pruned back, painted, rebuilt, or replaced. After butchering some oleander bushes in the backyard, I went inside, filled a plastic bottle with ice and water, and went back out to rest a few minutes. Starting across the yard, I stopped mid-stride. When in the world had our swing gotten so dilapidated-looking?
I wish I had pictures of how the swing looked when we bought it – the year we moved into this house – that would have been 1996. I can remember saying over and over, “We live on the water. We have to have a swing in the backyard so we can sit out there in the afternoon and watch the boats go by.” So Ted gave me one for Mother’s Day.
It didn’t look anything like it does now. It was fancy! The swing part was a separated two-seater with green canvas- cushioned seats that were so comfortable you just wanted to settle in and spend the day. Overhead was a matching green canvas cover that kept the sun, pinecones, and bird poop off your head. It was the Cadillac of swings, and I loved it. So did my Mom. When she would come up and spend the weekend, we would take our cokes out there and swing and chat and look at magazines together. We’d usually end up holding hands, just quietly watching the water and the birds. What peace.
During the swing’s second summer, there was a big storm, and we awoke the next morning to find it toppled over close to the water. The wind had caught all that canvas and sailed it across the yard. The top was a little torn – but no big deal – we just moved it further from the water. The next summer – an even bigger storm. And this time the swing landed upside down in the lake beyond the seawall. The wooden frames for the seats were busted, the canvas top torn apart. We considered taking the whole thing apart and disposing of it – but the outside frame was still perfectly good – except for a front leg that looked as if we were preparing it to become the bow of a boat. But we thought that just made it unique-looking. We bought a bench-type wooden seat to hang from the frame, and back it went into the yard. Without the canvas, it never went into the water again.
Over the years that swing has seen a lot of special moments. Mom got to hold Jordan, her great-granddaughter, in her lap and swing her one summer, and Jordan and Matthew have both sat on my lap, or beside me – swinging on a warm spring day and even one Thanksgiving when the weather was good.
It’s been my resting place in happy times – reading on a lazy Fall day, watching the dogs chase each other around the yard, sitting with Ted talking about how blessed we are, waiting for Ted to come around the bend in his kayak, sitting with a friend sharing a glass of wine. Too many others to even count.
And it’s been my refuge in sad times – a place to retreat for a moment alone – after both my Daddy and my Mom’s deaths, when I’m worried about the children or the grandchildren, after saying goodbye to Blake before he left for China the first time. Again, too many others to count.
I’ve sat on that swing and cried my heart out, and I’ve sat there and laughed until I couldn’t breathe. I’ve prayed on that swing, and my prayers have always been answered – sometimes with a “yes”, sometimes with a “no”, sometimes with a quiet “wait”.
It’s just an old wooden swing. But it has character. And it will stay right where it is – crooked leg and all.
For Friday’s Recipe Day, let’s do Breakfast Dishes. That could be muffins, breakfast casseroles, your favorite omelet recipes, etc. Email those to me at email@example.com by Thursday afternoon!
“The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch swing with, never say a word, then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation that you ever had.”