Tonight I had dinner and drinks with two of my oldest, closest friends. We are incredibly classy individuals when dining together. It's sort of like the dinner equivalent of "ladies that lunch" except with hard liquor, greasy bar food, and obnoxious, snorting laughter. Tonight, my friend suggested a new establishment on the east side of town designed to mimic the patios of a south Texas ranch. The food, drink, and ambiance were amazing, so I highly recommend Contigo if you're ever passing through.
Today it registered 100 degrees (again, again, again) on the thermometer. To say it's unseasonably warm is just being polite. It's too freaking hot for early June. So it struck me, on the way home - my skirt still plastered to the back of my thighs, shirt stuck to back - how distinctly we fall into a category. On this 100 degree afternoon and evening, we did not even consider a location with frigid, conditioned air. We happily sat in the shade, under a fan but out on the porch, this lovely evening. As soon as I plopped down into the chair, the sweat started flowing, but so did the drinks and food. And a breeze kept blowing that sultry air so it was, by all accounts, a mighty fine way to eat a meal.
The restaurant sits on the eastern edge of town. Just 12 miles away the land was bedding down for the night. I pictured the donkeys circling the hay, the cows tucked up along the front pasture fence chewing their cud, and a lone, lost roadrunner tentatively walking through a field of sunflowers on the front acre. My friends didn't realize, probably, but between conversations I concentrated on the sounds I bet they couldn't hear. There was cicada song just as the sun dipped low, overtaken by a chorus of crickets. In the intermittent, strong breezes, the large pecan leaves nearby danced on the branches. In that last sliver of sun above the horizon, I knew what we all could have heard had I stood on a table and screamed at everyone to "shut up!" for one second. The whippoorwills were out there, somewhere I know they were hunkered down in their beds of leaves in the dirt, calling out to each other in that haunting way they do. Only in summer. Only in the last minutes of dusk, or first moments of dawn.
I get what Contigo is trying to construct for its patrons. Somewhere in south Texas is a lovely ranch with lovely patios, and they recreated that piece very nicely. But the attributes of porch dwelling go beyond enveloping heat and breezes. No amount of "ambiance" can re-create country noise and silence. Tomorrow we'll head out to the land after dinner and bed down for the night along with the livestock and all the wild things. It's the best porch view I've seen.