Southerners take pride in their porches. To feel a mid-May breeze on the porch when there’s still a coolness in it like the other side of the pillow, before the August heat that feels like a soaking wet hot towel wrapping around you, is a gift. Life looks different from my porch. You hear dogs barking in the distance, see your neighbors walking by hollering hello loud enough so we can hear them over the lawnmower next door, the smell of cut grass that’s more like green onions in south Mississippi, birds singing along with the Drifters playing softly behind a screen door.
The only way I could imagine a porch being any better than what I just described is to add some friends and family and food into the mix. There are few greater pleasures than this. Porch hangs are a common ritual around here. Some days it’s only a cold drink at the end of a long day, telling our stories.
Best thing about hosting a porch party? You can mix fancy with casual. Sometimes, our closest friends come over and we throw together a pot luck supper, Mammaw’s Blue Willow china, and the old tea pitcher with a chip in the handle that’s better at holding wildflowers from the yard now. Find ways to get creative! Use paper napkins and table runners pretty enough to reuse, but made to throw away at the end of the night. Incorporate cast iron to make life easy when it comes to time to clean up.
Most of all, choose whatever allows you to spend more time around the people you love and don’t worry about trying to make it perfect. A porch party doesn’t have to be formal to be fun. The simplest suppers make fine places to linger until midnight.