The Old Back Steps
Remembrances of my childhood...
Those old back steps saw more traffic than the front door. Not that we had so many neighbors and friends that would use the back door rather than the front. The majority of that traffic was us, the family, making a trip to the ‘little house out back’. We didn’t have an indoor toilet until the early 1950’s, when mom and dad decided we needed to remodel. But before that I’m sure we all made many trips daily, up and down those back steps and along a little path worn in the sod to our little outhouse, located out back.
those back steps were the only way in or out...
Other than the above mentioned necessity the back steps was our source to the lower half acre of our property with daily trips to the hen house, the garden and a large play area for the boys which we used for sand lot baseball mostly, but also horse shoes and other times when we were grounded and told, “Don’t leave this yard….”. Dad built us a grand horseshoe pit with steel post and outline with heavy boards. I wasn’t large enough to toss the horseshoes from one end to the other, but I had fun anyway, except for when it came to mowing. I’ve written before about the difficulty incurred just because my older brothers had ‘seniority’ when it came to menial duties and that task somehow fell to me, the younger brother.
slinging the scraps out into the back yard
Those old steps were rickety at first, but after the remodeling a more stable set of steps were built. And also after the ‘relocation’ of certain ‘necessary equipment’, now moved inside, those old back steps were not used near as often as before, at least not for the same reasons. We did take out the ‘scraps’ left over after a meal and opening the back screened door would stand on the top step, while slinging the scraps out into the back yard. Mom had a heart for any ‘stray dogs’ that “might not get anything better that day…” I remember hearing her say.
stepping into the waiting arms of an exuberant ‘mamaw’
We kids grew, married, served in the Air Force and Navy and in every instance; our return ‘home’ came with entrance by way of those old back steps followed by a welcome from mom awaiting at the top. Smiles, hugs and kisses were always showered because the children were returning to our ‘roots’, our first home and remembrances of bygone days filled with love and laughter. Often those returning trips brought a new family member who would immediately gain all the attention a grandmother and sometimes great grandmother could garner. My sister and brother-in-law built a home on that lower half acre of the original property and mom would often look out that little kitchen window to find a small grandchild toddling up a well strewn path to those old back steps and begin climbing one by one until finally reaching the top, stepping into the waiting arms of an exuberant ‘mamaw’ poised to extend hugs and kisses and sometimes a piece of candy for their most recent accomplishment.
...checking out what we were having for supper
Yes, we kids continued to come and go by those old back steps and maybe a lot of that was out of respect for mom and her attitude about reserving the front entrance for ‘company’. But I like to think I always came in the back way because it opened into the kitchen and by coming that way I could always check out what we were having for supper...