A front door is all about expectations. It’s the place where a house greets its visitors and lets them know what might be inside. I’m timid when I approach a front door. I’m never sure whether my knock or my doorbell ring will delight or disturb. I like clear instructions and am happy when I see a sign telling me what to do. Signs that advise, “Do not ring bell – sleeping baby,” or “Knock loudly,” are always helpful. My mother was even more timid than I, usually saying as we drove up to a house “Oh, I don’t think they’re home!”
When Aaron built the farmhouse on Whirlwind Hill he must have wanted people to know that the inhabitants were doing well. The front door was classical and elegant – the surrounding molding simple and substantial – the stone step ancient and enduring. It’s no wonder so many family portraits were taken in this south-facing spot. My parents posed here before they were married.
And three years later they posed me in a pair of overalls standing against the threshold.
But despite its welcoming beauty, I rarely used the front door. The kitchen door was always unlocked, and it was there I usually entered. When I walked into the kitchen I expected a hugging welcome from my grandmother and maybe a donut or a cookie. There was life and activity in the kitchen, and I wanted to be a part of it.
I do believe in the importance of a well-kept and impressive front door, and in having expectations to guide the day. I’m bothered by a mediocre entryway, and I’m unsatisfied by a day where I wonder aimlessly. A door is a focus and a way in, and this lovely door marking the entryway to the farmhouse beckoned generations of my family inside to gather together in warmth and comfort.
On Wednesday: Three Notches