Southern Scribe
    our culture of storytelling


 Porch Tale   


Screen Doors 

By Brenda S. Brown


Some folks who lived in the country had two doors adorning their doorways, a wooden door and a screen door; such was the case at Nanny’s house in Terrell County.  The heavy wooden door was opened early in the morning and closed at dusk; it provided security and privacy at night. The screen door provided some protection from the flies, and occasionally it kept the hunting dogs and stray cats out of the house.   

The front and back screen doors made just a faint bumping noise as it closed.  The screen door on the side entrance had a rusty spring, and needed some adjustment, which made it the likeliest candidate for making lots of racket.  When flung wide open, and accidentally turned loose, it banged several times before slamming loudly, and finally closing.     

That frequently used door had several rusty spots in the screen wire that needed repairing.  Near the bottom edge of the door, something or someone had pushed-in and bent the bottom edge of the screen wire, making it likely to scratch your leg if you were not careful.  

Midway up the door, sticking through the screen was a large piece of unseeded cotton.  The dingy fiber stopped-up a gaping hole that gave flies an easy access to the house.  Nevertheless, on certain days it seemed like an army of winged insects swarmed into the house, every time the screen door was used.   

Way up near the top of the door was a metal closer, a separate hook and eye contraption that had been situated far too high for children to reach.  Nanny never used the fastener, but it was possible to slam the screen door so hard that it flipped over, and latched by itself.  When that happened there was real trouble because you had locked yourself out of the house.     

Granddaddy repaired one gash in the screen by covering it with an old pierce of screen wire, and stitching it into place with twine.  The screen door was unattractive but my grandparents insisted that it was a necessary piece of equipment.  

When the high humidity and the hot air mixed, the flies seemed to stick the screen.  Granddaddy kept busy spraying down the porch area, using a strange looking hand-pumped contraption.  The reservoir was filled with a foul smelling concoction that was gummy when it stuck to your bare feet.    

When Granddaddy used his precious sprayer, it invariably clogged, so he took it apart and tinkered with it.  When he got the sticky substance all over the porch and made an unsightly mess, Nanny spoke with him in the kitchen, and soon he was using an old mop to wipe-up the puddles. 

“Now you children listen up, don’t be slamming that screen door," Nanny called out loudly.   

“Sorry”, was our usual reply.   

I miss the sights and sounds of life in the country, however the memories that make all of us smile, are never far away. 

Our porch photo is of Wallow Lodge on Sapelo Island, Georgia.

Brenda S. Brown, a native of Richland, Georgia, has resided in Baldwin County for the past twenty years.  Her column “Looking Back” is published bi-weekly in the Union Recorder newspaper.  Many short stories and informative columns have been featured in area publications. 

Her first manuscript, “Precious Gems from Ruby” is a detailed anecdote about her family, and growing up in southwest Georgia.  The memoir is now complete, and she is actively seeking a publisher.  Brenda is a member of Rosemary Daniell’s “Zona Rosa Writing Group” in Savannah.  

She and husband Otto have two grown sons and four grandchildren.       


© 2005, Brenda S. Brown, All Rights Reserved