When I was a youngster we had a “screen door”.
There was one at Grandma and Grandpa’s house on The Farm. There was one at Aunt Elaine’s house (and most of my other Aunt’s houses as well). A lot of my friends had them at their houses too. These doors were not like the “storm doors” constructed from aluminum of all textures with the metal hydraulic tube and armature that insures the door closes slowly and without sound but for a soft whispery “whoosh”. Our doors were made of wood and yes, there was a device that slowed that door down. It was a long spring attached to the door on one end and the door frame on the other. The sound of that spring stretching when you opened the door is unforgettable (and it’s usefulness for slowing the door was negligible).
But the indelible sound that became a part of every summer day, no matter whose house we were inhabiting, was the loud “CLACK…slap, slap” that every one of those doors made every time we exited or entered. This sound was a source of irritation and sometimes down right anger from all of the grown-ups in our world.
“DON’T SLAM THE SCREEN DOOR!!!” became the adult mantra that we heard constantly all season long. Sometimes it would ring out as we jumped up from the lunch table to head outside. Sometimes we would hear it after we had already flung open the door. Often we would here the phrase drift to us just as the door was slapping. Every once in awhile we would manage to stop that slam with a carefully placed foot as the expletive reached our brains. No matter how many times we heard “DON’T SLAM THE SCREEN DOOR!!!”, that screen door was always slamming.
When we’re reminiscing about our younger days, the Screen Door often factors into those conversations and we find that we miss hearing that sound and the mantra that always preceded or followed it. We made a decision to bring that sound back into our lives if we could. With a little searching we discovered that we could special order one at a very reasonable cost, so we did not hesitate. The hardest part was the wait for it to arrive. Finally, the call came and we picked up our treasure, painted it to match the trim around our front door and with the help of a neighbor (who happens to be a finish carpenter), hung it up. With great excitement and a “DON’T SLAM THE SCREEN DOOR!!!”, we flung that thing open for a test run and it was just as we remembered. “CLACK…slap,slap” is now a part of our lives again just in time for summer.
We (now the Grown-ups) are still calling out “DON’T SLAM THE SCREEN DOOR!!!” but rather than a source of irritation it has been transformed magically into a source of joy and laughter and we’re loving every opening and closing as the memories of summers long past clack and slap back into our world.
About the Author
For 40 years, Beverly has worked in the fine-dining restaurant industry. From Chicago to Salt Lake City to Portland, she has contributed to the success of each city’s most highly acclaimed restaurants. As a result, her knowledge of wine and food is vast, both of which she is passionate about. She currently co-manages one of Portland, Oregon’s most historic and prestigious restaurants. Her position allows her to mingle with some of today’s most exciting winemakers and chefs.
When she isn’t chatting with a wine rep or putting together a food and wine pairing menu, you’ll find Beverly working hard in her beautiful vegetable garden, baking fresh goods and spending time with her three grandsons.