THE BACK DOOR
I have wondered why my house where I grew up, on a long main road, was the only one where the driveway wound around the back of three houses, ours being in the middle. Therefore the family car was parked by the back door. It was a very rare occasion that our front door was used, as was true of our neighbors.
And, I do not recall our back door ever being locked either. I grew up in the 50s and 60s, where a neighborhood trust was taken for granted, a gift I highly prize especially now as I reside in a renovated chicken coupe, next door to a farm house, where an apartment has been created on its second floor. In this 21st century, people have locks on everything: cars, bikes, helmets, purses, office doors.
I refuse to lock my doors, even when on vacations, loving the freedom to come and go without having to search for my keys. Now, Heavenly Blue Morning Glories grace my back door, arching and stretching, swinging as I open and close. I have planted my favorite flower for 9 years, and they have climbed to the second story roof, but never before over my back door.
I honor them with my attention, counting 22 in full bloom during one September day; then, I recall being in Trumansburg, NY court room last week. I did not stand up when the judge entered from the back door of the court room, because I did not see him enter, my nose being in my journal. When it was my turn to defend my case, the judge gave me instructions, and when he asked if I understood, I answered, “yes sir.” Not, ‘your honor’. I had not planned to avoid “your honor,” although I have thought often that judges should not be addressed with this unequal title. I defended the injustice of my $10 parking ticket that came with a $100 tow of my jeep liberty. I had attended the Grassroots Festival; parking being a premium I ended up with one wheel on the pavement; I turned to see that it was not obstructing traffic on this rural road. My parking ticket was for having wheel(s) on the pavement, a law I had no prior knowledge of. I pointed out that my car had been parked for 9 hours before it was towed, and the officer on the day shift had not chosen to ticket it, but the evening one did. And, that the tow fee is usually $54-$65 for a five mile tow. (I had researched 3 different rural towing companies, even the one who towed me that July night)
The judge said he chose to deliberate and send out the verdict. I said, “thank you sir for hearing me.” Two days later I received the judge’s letter that said, “Not guilty.” I felt the truth was honored with equality, noticing a bloom of a smile on my face.
Then, as I write this I realize that once again I live on a circular driveway that serves three families (homes), only the driveway is in front of the back doors, instead of in back, like it had been in childhood. As I walk to my back door, or drive by, my heart opens to happiness with each look into the center-circle of the Heavenly Blue Morning Glories, speaking “your honor” with each entry and exit.