“If The World Had A Front Porch”

“If The World Had A Front Porch”

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Story Behind the Song

Tracy Lawrence
“If The World Had A Front Porch”

Written by Tracy Lawrence, Paul Nelson and Kenny Beard
Recorded by Tracy Lawrence

My co-writers, Paul Nelson (whom I was writing with a lot those days) and Kenny Beard (who was a band member at the time) and I wrote this in my motel room when we were on the road. I can’t even remember the name of the town we were in.

This song was created by recalling childhood memories. When I was very young, my mom re-married and we moved from Texas to a small town in southwest Arkansas. My grandparents lived in Atlanta and I spent every summer and a number of vacations with them. They were very poor. They lived in a “shotgun” house — that’s a very small wood house with a front porch and back porch and, if you open the front door and the back door, you can shoot straight through the house!

My granddad died from emphysema when I was fourteen. He suffered with it for some time. The illness made him very weak, so he could only sit on the front porch. I spent a lot of time there with him. I would help my grandmother shuck corn, split peas, or prepare whatever she was canning. Those days are prominent in my childhood memories.

The message of the song is:

If the world had a front porch like we did back then

We’d still have our problems but we’d all be friends.

We’ve become a backyard nation. With all of the drive-by shootings, child abductions and other things, people are fenced in from the world — they don’t sit on their front porches anymore. It’s unfortunate that kids today really don’t know what “front porch sittin’ ” means. The front porch (for children in my generation) was a place where we “learned” a lot from our parents and grandparents about communications, morals, society and the value of relationships. This song expresses the wish that we could go back in time — a time of innocence, a time spent with family and friends, and a time when people would wave to their neighbor — all from the front porch.

“If The World Had A Front Porch”

It was where my Mama sat on that old swing with her crochet,

It was where Granddaddy taught me how to cuss and how to pray,

It was where we made our own ice cream those sultry summer nights,

Where the bulldog had her puppies, and us brothers had our fights.

There were many nights I’d sit right there and look out at the stars

To the sound of a distant whippoorwill or the hum of a passin’ car.

It was where I first got up the nerve to steal me my first kiss

And it was where I learned to play guitar and pray I had the gift.

If the world had a front porch like we did back then

We’d still have our problems but we’d all be friends.

Treatin’ your neighbor like he’s your next of kin

Wouldn’t be gone with the wind

If the world had a front porch, like we did back then.

Purple hulls and pintos, I’ve shelled more than my share

As lightening bugs and crickets danced in the evening air.

And like a beacon that ol’ yellow bulb, it always led me home

Somehow Mama always knew just when to leave it on.

If the world had a front porch like we did back then

We’d still have our problems but we’d all be friends.

Treatin’ your neighbor like he’s your next of kin

Wouldn’t be gone with the wind

If the world had a front porch, like we did back then.

Treatin’ your neighbor like he’s your next of kin

Wouldn’t be gone with the wind

If the world had a front porch, like we did back then.

Written by Tracy Lawrence, Paul Nelson and Kenny Beard. © Tracy Lawrence, Paul Nelson, Kenny Beard SLL Music, Sony/ATV Tree Publishing, Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp, LAC Grand

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