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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

The Front-Porch Swing and Multi-Generational Wisdom

crI never grew up with a porch swing or anything that approximated it. But the idea is there: it may be the kitchen or dining room table, where family members linger long after a meal, just to talk. It could be a kitchen counter, seated on a stool while parents prepare breakfast, lunch or dinner and you gab away about everything under the sun, sharing hopes, dreams, concerns, a laugh. Perhaps you’re on a long road trip with a good friend and there, in the car, the conversation stretches as long into the night as the road before you.

All of it symbolizes the front-porch swing: that symbolic place of acceptance and answered questions.

Mom, what am I supposed to do with my life? Dad, why doesn’t that boy like me? Friend, how did you get a job right after college?

It’s not all for young people, either. As you grow, you develop couple friends and whole-family friends. crThe kids can put down their electronics and blow giant-sized bubbles in the backyard or on the balcony. The parents may brush dogs or shuck corn or knit a scarf or stack dishes while chatting. Life goes on, but it’s spent with friends.

I recall when Benedetto and I were in Italy on business. Speaking to industrialists in a semi-small town, a friend of ours had somehow decided that we would stay with some friends of his, a humble farm family whose dog could sing, but that’s another story for another day. (Yes, I mean actually sing, and because Luciano Pavarotti came from nearby, it really didn’t strike us as odd… lol.)

crThis was back in the day before cell phones, yet somehow, an urgent message was delivered to us: Benedetto’s father had just passed away after a health struggle. It was late in the day and our friend strolled with him through the orchards and declared simply and happily: “Benedetto, it is your father— he has gone to be with Gesù-!” No more suffering, no more pain. The two friends walked and talked together, making plans as to whether or not we should leave immediately— if we could get to where we needed to be (after the fact), or if we should stay where we had further responsibilities.

The great questions of life are often solved best in front-porch swing settings.

I was back at the farmhouse, shucking peas on the back steps. Another man and I worked in tandem on antique-porch-swingour respective bowls, helping the farm wife as the conversation turned to life and death and God and meaning. We had visited my husband’s father recently and all was well. How many could say that? How many, instead, lived lives of regret and misplaced priorities?

Cultivate your front-porch family and friends, you know, the ones you can really trust, the ones who are not there for what you might do for them, but are there because of… love. They are there for good times and bad, to laugh and to cry and to celebrate your life events and theirs.


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