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The screen door 

By Jacob Hatcher 

It makes the most awful racket now; screeching and slamming on a windy day, like a disgruntled teenager not getting his way. We could probably oil it and change the hydraulic arm on it, but it just wouldn’t be the same if we did. Asking a screen door not to be noisy would be like asking a whippoorwill not to sound lonesome when he sings; it just wouldn’t be natural.  

Sometimes the noise gets a little irritating, but I don’t think I’d like it any other way. Not so much because I enjoy the noise, but because of what else I often hear in it. If the weather’s just right, I could swear that that door hollars, “Merry Christmas!” On the stranger evenings, I even hear myself say, “It’s me!”, like I used to do when I’d walk into the house late at night.  

That screen door has seen generations of folks pass through it. Some of them were family, and others were dear friends; the one thing it never opened itself up to was a stranger. Not in that house. 

That door was an audience for football games and a telephone through which more salt was requested for the hand cranked ice cream machine. It was the first thing visitors saw when they came to give their condolences and it was a beacon to us children who knew that once we passed through it, we were entering into a totally different world than the one back home.  

There’s probably an infinite number of doors just like this one, with an initial hanging in the middle, held up by twirling metal arms all around it. Growing up, I assumed this screen door was custom ordered, but now I know that’s not true.  

Maybe I thought that because of youthful ignorance, but at the time it just seemed like there’s no way such a special portal could be mass produced; it would have been impossible for me to conceive of the neighbors having just as special a door.  

Anyway, I got to go. Someone’s at the door.  

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