These past five months here at Mt. Faith, we have repeatedly proclaimed to neighbors, relatives, new friends and acquaintances alike – “Open Door Policy!” No Need to Stand on Formalities! If the Car is in the Driveway – We’re Home!
We’re just learning the ropes in Minnesota and there are, indeed, cultural discrepancies, so that it’s essential to know important things like the coffee pot should always be on and ready to go, and it’s considered improper and impolite to take your leave from the door to the car in less than 20 minutes (a Minnesota Goodbye), and it is assumed that any service representative on the phone will be personal and helpful.
We’re learning and it’s a new and exciting paradigm.
However, in spite of our proclamations, we have not really been taken at our word. Yes. The croquet court is set and ready. The coffee pot will only take a few minutes. And we can pull up a few chairs in the midst of sawdust and chaos. We really mean it.
In fact, the mess of remodeling provides the perfect excuse. Once we’re on the other side of “torn-up”, we’ll have no excuse if the floor is dingy or the dishes are stacked awry or there are sweaters piled upon chairs. Just ask me down the line if I panic when called, if I hurry to dust and straighten. That’s another story for another time. But for now we’ve been calling out for visitors.
And thank you Liz and Don! You listened and believed our proclamations. You called out of the blue and said you were near and on the way. And as a result, we just had a great afternoon – drinking coffee (of course) along with those divine brownies from the Falls Bakery, showcasing our first steps in this-old-house progress, triangulating Fergus Falls history, and most importantly, deepening friendship.
I’m wondering if our new success in the welcoming department had anything to do with the door?
My part in the remodeling process this past week revolved around painting around the new double pane windows on the reconstructed, cedar-shingled front porch. They’re a matched-up blue to the rest of the trim, but the old door is now a two-toned red and I think it looks grand.
The add-on front porch had long ceased to be an entry when we bought this old house and I’m certain we will still be traipsing in and out through the back kitchen on a regular basis. But where once there was only a sealed off indoor clothesline, there is now an official entrance and it loudly proclaims WELCOME.
For once we didn’t debate and analyze color options and pour over swatches. We didn’t agonize. We didn’t fuss. We simply both agreed and knew it must be red. So I was glad in retrospect to find that we are in good company with our choice. It seems that in horse and buggy days, a red door signified an invitation of hospitality to those caught in a storm, and while we’ve significantly moved on with current means of transportation, it’s just possible in Minnesota that the need for a “port in the storm” might prove every bit as significant! The use of a red door also marked a place of safety to fugitives along the “underground railroad”, and as a former civil rights activist from the 60’s, I like that symbolism. Churches have used the red door to signify the blood of Christ, and in Scotland it might just mean that the mortgage had been paid, and that’s like covering “soup to nuts” – all good. In Feng Shui the red door is called the Mouth of Chi – the specific place where all good luck and energy might enter.
So we’re expecting infinite good luck and energy, and lots of drop-in company, and the coffee pot is on and ready to go!