Enjoy these Front Porch Moments from Bill and share your favorites with your family and friends. He'd love to meet you at Front Porch ice cream events. Oh, and by the way, his favorite flavor is Sweetie Tea.
Southern Memories and Southern Dreams Part 2
Then about my sophomore year in college, I was introduced to another version of the ice cream social. During the school year I had met a girl from Durham. I thought she was the prettiest girl I had ever seen and she was also the kind of girl that could talk to anybody and make them feel comfortable. That was important to a country boy just getting an introduction to the world beyond Hallsboro.
Toward the end of the spring semester she asked me if I’d like to go with her to an ice cream social at a friend’s house in Durham. Of course, I said I would. So sometime about the middle of June I drove from Hallsboro to Durham and met the girl at her house then proceeded to her friend’s house.
The friend’s house looked like something out of Gone With The Wind. I had never seen anything so grand. After I parked in the driveway that circled in front of the columned front porch we went to the backyard that had been decorated by hanging Japanese lanterns in the dogwood trees. Tables with white linen cloths had been placed all over the lawn. Up on the back porch was a band playing beach music. Some couples danced; others talked while sipping some kind of terrible green punch; others shared a more potent beverage.
Back then such social occasions required the men to wear sport coats and a tie and the girls wore beautiful sundresses that showed off their tan. My girl tried to teach me to shag that night. (Shagging is a dance, the official dance of North and South Carolina.) She wasn’t very successful in that effort but she was successful in making the evening enjoyable just by allowing me to be a part of it all with her.
There were two men over on the side of the back porch of the house. Their sole job was to get the ice cream ready. They turned the handle and replaced the ice, salted the ice to make it cool the cream faster then covered the churn with a cloth to let the sweet mixture “set” a while. When the ice cream was served in the glow of the lanterns we ate it just as quickly as those of us back at the farm in Hallsboro had done. Homemade ice cream is a great social equalizer.
Yeah, that’s a memory of the past and a dream of the future.
About Bill Thompson
For over 40 years, Bill Thompson has traveled the Carolinas delighting folks with his commentary on Southern staples: food, farming, music, family and neighbors. He's been the master of ceremonies for hundreds of events celebrating the things that make the South special - from the Hollering Contest in Spivey's Corner to the Wolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk, the Grits Festival in South Carolina, and he's even judged a sweet tea contest in Georgia. In the process, he's had the chance to meet some fine Southerners and hear their own stories. He's authored three books, one named, "Sweet Tea, Fried Chicken and Lazy Dogs: A Reflection of North Carolina Life."