In the old neighborhood when I was growing up, we had back door friends. The front door was more formal and used by those who didn’t know us well – solicitors, businessmen, and acquaintances. But then there were back door friends – people who were close enough and comfortable enough to come to our back door. Maybe it was a neighbor and the back door was simply closer to walk to from next door or through the unfenced back yards that we shared. Maybe it was a close and familiar friend and both of you understood that the back door led to the kitchen, or hub, of a family. Simply, if you knew each other well enough, the back door was an informal hello and a welcome interruption in the day.
Times have changed, but my husband and I have back door friends now. They use the front door because of its convenience, but they are friends we know well and who know us well. Friends who, when a gathering time is arranged, know they can walk in and knock afterwards. It’s understood and comfortable and we all know they are welcome. Some of our dear back door friends recently came to the front door, but not for their entry…for mine.
We have a great front porch. It is shaded in the afternoon and a place to watch walkers and drivers pass by. It is from the front porch that I could wave to or say hello to neighbors, be near Mr. Legs as he works on the yard, or wait on expected company. But one thing separated me and my wheels from the front porch.
One six inch step.
It was determined long ago that the four steps from the porch up to the door to the house were too difficult to ramp for safety and appearance. (I use an electric lift in the garage to enter and exit the house.) But only that one step separated me and my wheels from the front porch. See it there? I would look at that one step and try to wish it away.
I browsed the great online shopping mall for an answer, but nothing seemed workable or practical – nothing that would accommodate normal legged people, my scooter AND my heavy wheelchair. I let the idea fizzle and fade and be forgotten.
I didn’t ask for help, but word leaked out. Wheels in heads started turning to come up with a way for my wheels to get on the front porch. And then the back door friends came to the front door with a mission in mind. These are people with time consuming management or executive jobs who happen to also be very handy and creative. These are people who take the time to care about others, and I’m fortunate to be one of their others.
Three evenings in a row, our back door friends showed up at the front door to think and work together. They measured, examined and problem solved. They built and sanded and perfected while they tilted their heads in concentration and they smiled as they worked together toward a goal. I saw them first through the front window, then opened the door to watch.
A friend took some pictures from outside.
When they were done, they tested its strength for my heavy wheelchair by each test driving it themselves for my safety.
They created something to be proud of. The transitions going on and off of it are the smoothest I’ve experienced. It is the most comfortable ramp I have ever been on. It is a custom built rollway, paved with love, and just for me.
I am grateful. Grateful for the friends. Grateful for the gift.
I can now sit perched on the porch. I like and enjoy being able to be there again even more than I anticipated. I am scaling that ominous one step with the wonderful ramp our back door friends made for me to reach the front porch.