Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Growing Up Ralph - The Door

Most people use the word crazy, I prefer eccentric. If you want your neighbors to think you are eccentric here’s a simple way to do it.

Take a door out of your garage, prop it up against an outside wall and start taking pictures of it. You’ll have three neighbors in your front yard within minutes. To convince them you’re eccentric, tell them why you kept the door for forty years and you are going to write a story about it. They’ll walk away shaking their heads.

Like any thirteen-year-old boy, I wanted a room of my own. When my father and grandfather decided to finish the basement, I was one excited kid. Every night I would be down in the basement doing what I could to help especially when they got to the part of the basement that would be my room.

Finally, one night my Dad announced that with the exception of hanging the doors the basement was finished and I could move into my room. Not having a door wasn’t bad except there were three younger kids in the family. They would just walk in whenever they felt like it.

One afternoon my Grandpa showed up and in the back of his station wagon was a beautiful site. A hollow core door and setting next to it was a doorknob complete with a lock. My grandpa saw me looking at the doorknob and made the most profound statement I had heard in my thirteen years of life, “No use closing the door if you can’t lock it.”

We framed in the door jam and then my Grandpa measured for the doorknob. He measured it several times before taking out his carpenter pencil and marking it. Even as he marked it, I didn’t think it looked right but hey, I was thirteen and had never hung a door. What did I know?

Soon the door to my room was up. That’s when Grandpa stepped back, looked at the door, frowned, and said, “My glasses must have slipped.”

His glasses did slip. He put my doorknob two feet off the ground rather than the standard three feet. I had to reach down every time I opened the door.

My Grandpa felt terrible about that mistake. He often talked about that door and repeatedly offered to replace it. Each time Grandpa and I talked about the door, the more significant it became.

Maybe the word isn’t eccentric. Maybe it’s sentimental.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a great story and I can relate. When I finally got my own bedroom my mom made it a point to stress the most important rule, which was "this door is to stay unlocked at all times and open whenever you have company.

But it was still worth it.

7:18 PM  
Blogger Aravis said...

I would have called you cold-hearted if it didn't mean anything to you.

Besides, I like the way you made the neighbors talk. *G*

12:33 AM  
Blogger nora said...

What a great story! I can picture how excited you were when the door arrived.
Thanks for sharing.

6:41 AM  
Anonymous WOR said...

In your posting, you failed to mention that as an adult, we have moved three times and each time the door is one of the first things that gets moved--maybe even before the kids. Is this eccentric or sentimental?

7:42 AM  
Blogger Janell said...

WOF - I vote "sentimental." Just be glad it's not a 100 year old upright grand piano. (Well, it was Grandma's and I don't have the heart to leave it behind.)

9:53 AM  
Anonymous DOR said...

I have never heard the story before. It is nice, but from the way my Dad treats that door I always imagined that it did magic tricks or something. Whenever I asked about it I was always told that they would tell me when I was older, it was definately the most treasured item in the basement.

5:00 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

So, don't forget to make sure they use it when they build your coffin. I just KNOW you want to be buried with it!

5:03 PM  
Blogger Miki said...

Nice story Ralph. Nice memory of your grandfather. Some things deserve to be saved, and I guess you chose one thing that you held a special place in your heart and home for. Poor Char, she has had to endure the door for so long, but sentimentality goes a long way, and it brings with it a great story!

6:19 AM  
Blogger possum said...

Awww... That is so sweet!!!!! Well, I kinda thought you were one of the "good" ones - now I know it fer sure!
It is a treasure. Good for you!

9:02 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Ralph, that is a super DOOR STORY!!! But, ... you know the first 'door story teller' doesn't stand a chance.
The rest will try outdoing you with their own story, harassing you, or just plain kibitzing.

I will tell my door story:
1. I never had a bedroom of my own, I slept on the front porch. Hence no door.
2. When I grew up I had a door with a hole, but no knob that I used for a desk top. It went from El Paso to New Hampshire back to Houston with me.
3. Mrs. Jim has the back door from the house she grew up in propped against the wall in her study/music room.

Just thought might you might want to know (not) about all this.
I'm kinda' sorry your Broncos lost last night but our Texans did need the win. I hope Callahan can keep his job. He is a nice guy (and isn't finishing last).

4:01 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

That is an awesome story. That you kept that door so long is something special, indeed. Your grandpa would be proud.

We had a similar "ha-ha" when I was growing up. My dad put a basketball backboard and basket on top of the shed for us. It was about 6 feet tall, with about 3" of space between each 1x6. It looked like a fence on end. "Don't want the wind to blow it over." Then he braced it all with 1" galvanized pipe.

His motto: If it ain't broke, fix it till it is!

8:30 AM  
Blogger Cliff said...

Nope, eccentric.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

Awww, that's a very valuable door, Ralph.
That doorknob height would be perfect for a child or a little person.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Granny Annie said...

The importance of a door and a project with grandpa far out weighs the placement of the doorknob. You said it so well.

1:49 PM  

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