The old back door is silent and alone, tilted up against a wall in the garage with only spiders to keep it company. It has been replaced by a sturdier new door with state of the art weather stripping and a lock that works effortlessly. After opening more than a million times in sixty years, it was time for the door to retire. It will spend the winter resting in the garage, but next spring we plan to paint it with a happy color and give it a place of honor in the garden.
For years family and friends passed through that door. I was carried over the threshold when I was just three months old and crossed it hundreds of times on my way to and from school and play. The door witnessed my first kiss. It opened as if by magic well after midnight to reveal my worried mother the night a friend and I left at eight to watch a sunset.
When my mother lived here, only strangers came to the front door. Everyone knew the back door offered access to the heart of the house, Beth's kitchen. Visitors were enticed by the scent of warm cinnamon rolls and fresh cookies or a welcome invitation to stay for dinner.
Every Sunday my grandmother sat at the kitchen table next to the door telling tales of her life while my mother prepared Sunday dinner. Aunts, uncles, and cousins were joyfully reunited there while passing through town on family vacations.
Tradesmen tromped in and out when the basement was finished, or the water heater was replaced or during various remodeling projects. My father's big noisy tools made the journey on their way to his basement work room and again when they went to new homes.
Excited grandchildren leapt into their grandmother's arms when they arrived and dragged their feet on the way out. Good news was eagerly shared and sorrows were soothed.
How many stories have passed over that threshold? The old back door has seen and heard it all . . . if only it could talk.