Southern Stories
Jun 19/13

Sit a Spell. It’s Porch Party Season. Posted by: Dan | 0 Comments

My Nano divides her neighbors into two categories: walkers and porch sitters. She says for a neighborhood to work properly, you need a balance between the two.

Nano is a walker. After supper, she cleans the kitchen and goes for a walk through the neighborhood. Sometimes she says it’s for exercise. Mostly, it’s to see what’s going on. She visits with the porch sitters, the people who’ve retired to their porches to visit with the walkers as they come by.

There have been times I’ve been a walker. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of porch sitting. It’s been good for my mind and spirit. Neighborhoods aren’t the only things that need balance. So do lives.

The past two summers, I’ve invited friends over to porch sit with me. Most of these gatherings are impromptu and informal. A bottle of wine or a pitcher of iced tea, along with mosquito repellant, is all that’s really required to porch sit. But sometimes it’s fun to get a little more deliberate about these things.

For a proper porch sit, there are some things to consider:

The guest list – This is actually more important than your Christmas party guest list because it’s much smaller. You’re on a porch, for crying out loud. There’s nowhere to excuse yourself if someone is not getting along.
This is not time for the obligatory invite of the unfortunate friend with no personal space and poor dental hygiene, unless you and your friends are working on some kind of sainthood. Stick with people you know, who are easy to get along with, all like one another and generally smell nice.

The entertainment – Typically the entertainment portion of the evening is the “fellowship of good friends,” as the more pious phrase it. That translates to straight up gossip for most. But it can also be time for genuine support for a battle-weary friend or a good laugh for another at the end of her rope.
Some people like to play the guitar and host a little sing-a-long. Occasionally, a harmonica is brought out. I don’t actually recommend either course of action unless you’re certain this group is the musical type.
More to the point, this is a really bad plan unless the musician is actually gifted. Nothing will bring a porch sit to a close faster than poor harmonica playing.
Then it’s just a sad fella with a bottle of wine and a mouth organ swatting at mosquitoes. That’s not really much of a party. It’s last call at a dive bar.

The decorations – I enjoy some festive lights on the porch. Some good mosquito repellant candles are essential.
It’s important to keep your decorations that take up space to minimum. You want to hang anything you can. Save as much room for chairs and people as possible.
If ever your square footage was at a premium, this is the time.

The drinks – Since this usually happens after supper, you might offer your guests a light snack, but mostly you’re focused on drinks. Iced tea is the house wine of the South, we’re told, so be sure and offer this to your guests.
It’s also hard to go wrong with pitcher of lemonade. Spiking either with flavored vodka can be a nice treat on hot night. Of course, a cold beer or a chilled wine will often hit the spot.
It really seems almost tacky to serve drinks in anything but Mason jars, but do as you feel led by the Spirit.

I’ll be hosting impromptu porch parties most of the summer. If you’re walking in my neighborhood, stop by and join us. Tell us all the good gossip you know about our neighbors. We’ll definitely have some lemonade waiting for you. Leave your harmonica at home.

Kerri Jackson Case is physically incapable of parking legally. She lives in Little Rock with her husband, son and two smelly dogs. If you’re around at suppertime, she’ll feed you. You can follow her unremarkable but thoroughly entertaining life at



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