Porch Party, Fall Creek Place Style
My front porch has saved me. As an extrovert, I love getting out of the house to meet new people and explore new places. However, as a mother of two small children, it's hard to get out as often as I like. But my front porch seems to satisfy my fix. Living on a busy city street, the world zooms by our doorstep. We watch drivers commuting to work or a meeting downtown, cyclists with their yoga mat attached to their back, pedestrians as they pass back by our house holding yellow bags after a trip to the dollar store. I have found that there's nothing like a trip out to the porch to soothe a fussy baby or an upset toddler. The porch is our beach and we watch as the waves of colorful cars go by.
In motherhood I've become quite the hostess. If you can't get out you simply must bring the world to your doorstep. The porch is my favorite place to entertain and have “appetitivo”. In another life I lived for this Italian happy hour. My friends and I combed the cobblestone streets of Perugia, Florence, and Milan for the bars that offered the best spread of cured meats and cheese, bowls of olives, capers, and pickled peppers, crostini smothered with various pâtés, or our favorite - slices of sweet cantaloupe wrapped in prosciutto. This was how students dined out in Italy - a feast that only cost us a glass of wine or a Campari cocktail.
I’ve tried to continue this Italian tradition in my own humble fashion. If you're at my house during the 5 o'clock hour, we'll sit on the porch to a tray of cheese and crackers, olives, mixed nuts, veggies and hummus. This often holds us over until daddy gets home or just may be our supper if he's out of town. Our house faces west so in the early evening the porch is soaked with sunlight.
I recently hosted a porch party and invited several neighbors over to celebrate spring. But unlike the 70-degree days leading up to that Friday, it was in the 40's with off and on rain and a couple hail storms thrown in. So instead of the berry colada cocktail I was planning on serving I quickly looked up some hot chocolate recipes and scored with a Nutella drink - 1 c of milk to 2 Tb. of Nutella. I messaged my friends and told them to bundle up as the party was still on. Guests arrived donning jackets and blankets and carrying deviled eggs and fresh bread out of the oven. It was like a tailgate and the game was our own community. We sat under the safety of our pagoda and let the rain fall as we visited, introduced friends to neighbors, chatted about our kids, our schools, joked about buying the vacant building on the corner and starting our own café. It’s moments like these that I’m so thankful for our neighborhood and a place to gather - the intersection of home and street life – a front porch.