Friday, April 26, 2013

Ding Dong

When I was growing up, I learned, when the doorbell rang, to hit the floor – so that the person at the front door couldn’t see we were there.

You see, the people who came to the front door were generally, unless we were expecting them, never people we wanted to see: people trying to convince us that their religion was better than ours, and willing to spend the whole day doing it, others selling things like steaks out of their car trunks.

People we knew, most of whom were related to us, came to the back door and, often as not, walked right in.

My parents’ current house, which is very old, has its original doorbell. It’s mechanical, not electric, and looks like an extra old porcelain doorknob on the frame of the front door. No one knows how to work it – or even that it is the door bell. (Pssst, grasp the knob and pull it … not that anyone will answer it.)

The Fedex man knew, though. The first time he came to the house, he rang that bell – and my mother’s first words to him when she opened the door were, “How’d you know how to do that?!” He now comes to the backdoor like everyone else we want to see.

My husband’s family answers the door when someone rings the bell. No one ducks out of sight. They, in fact, get fully dressed as soon as they wake up (as opposed to the way my family favors pajama pants and old t-shirts), all the way down to hard-soled shoes. This is so they can, as Texans say, “visit with” people who drop by. "Visiting" involves sitting in the living room, hands folded, making small talk. This may seem like the more normal way of doing things; you see it in TV dramas …

… But I like my way better.


  1. Could it be that Cheryl and family are not anti-social, they are just anti-front door bell.

  2. Our house has four doors and no bells or door knockers (don't ask) and it's pretty amusing when someone we don't know is coming to the house and doesn't know what door to go to. (for years our front door had no hardware on it- that was a big hint!). People who know us show up at our kitchen door and if no one is in sight- will sometimes walk right in. I like your doorbell story. Funny! (and the evangelicals who come around- I try to catch them on their rounds outside- point to our house and tell them not to bother coming by. Works like a charm)