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  • Kristan Higgins

Summer of the porch

Updated: May 3, 2022


This has been a very full and lovely summer and quite old-fashioned in some ways. We’ve done a lot of porch-sitting—we do have the most wonderful front porch, with hanging baskets and a couch that was purchased specifically so McIrish could nap on it. My great-aunt’s bouncy old metal chairs suck you in so you don’t want to get up, and iced coffee, a house specialty, is often served. In the afternoon, we crank down the porch shades so the sun doesn’t drive us inside. A few hours later, we roll them back up, watch the bats fly out of the barn and listen to the wood thrush sing the last song of the evening. Dearest Son runs around the field with the dogs, and Princess reads.


My oldest friend came over yesterday—we grew up next door to each other. She brought her mom and her younger daughter. Princess braided the little girl’s hair, and my nieces and son went swimming. Today, my best friend from college will visit with her triplets—I visited them in the hospital when they were born; in a few weeks, they’ll start their first year of college.


My sister-in-law came up the other day with her three, bringing along my beloved mother-in-law, Polly, and my brother-in-law. My friend Stacia is a frequent guest here, being a lover of both iced coffee and porches. My mom walks over sometimes, too, and my friend Shaunee is always game to come for an evening, so long as I make her a well-crafted martini. The Princess and her sweetheart have spent many hours reading here; he was not a reader when they started dating, but she’s converted him via Harry Potter.

The dogs too love the porch. While Willow was recovering from her leg surgery (she is such a delicate flower), we blocked the stairs, so she could be outside without straining her legs. Once in a while, one of the dogs will sneak up on McIrish’s couch. The cat doesn’t have to sneak. He owns us all.


Since I overcame my fear of hummingbirds, we bought two feeders, and I watch and listen to their busy wings. McIrish, as he seems to have some magic in him, held up a flower one day, and a hummingbird drank from it. Perhaps, the kids surmised, the hummingbird community remembered about how he rescued the baby hummingbird last summer from the pool, and word had spread that he was to be trusted. I’ve tried to get the hummingbirds to do the same with me, but to no avail. Maybe next year.


Next summer at this time, we’ll be getting ready to send Dearest Son to college, and Princess will be in her final year. But for now, I’ll just enjoy the last few weeks of this peaceful, happy, friend-filled time, listen to my kids laugh, pet my dogs and get another glass of iced coffee.


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