Monday, February 22, 2016

The basement door

I just brought my newly washed clothes up from the basement. I left the door from the living room standing open as I went down and up.

I couldn't (or wouldn't) have done that a few weeks ago. I would have shut the door when I went down and secured it with the little latch on the inside.

Every time, for 16 years, that someone opened the basement door, Luke, our cat would come running. Luke tried every way in the world to get in the basement whenever he could.

Our house was built in 1850, so none of the doors shut flush (and no two windows are exactly the same size--but that's another issue). Over time we installed little latches on a couple of bedroom doors and the basement door to keep Luke on the outside of those doors. He would reach into the opening under the basement door, even if it was, for all intent and purpose, closed, and pull it open and run down.

Because our house is 165 years old, some of the floors in the full basement are still dirt floors--only the front of the basement has concrete floors. Luke loved it down there because it was damp and dank and inviting to moles. Over the years, he brought half a dozen or so moles up to us as gifts. For an indoor cat, he was lethal to small critters.

He'd stay in the basement for over an hour sometimes and come up filthy when we finally called him. No matter where he was, if you called "Lukie! Lukie!" he'd come running. Very dog like, I thought. Bern thought he believed we had a pork chop for him.

I carried down a waist high container of clothes whenever I washed. Holding that with my knees, I used both hands to latch the basement door. I often wondered if someday I'd lose my balance on the narrow stairs and fall.

I don't have to worry about that, now that Luke is dead. The dog has never once came into the basement. I just leave the door standing open.

That's the only good thing about Luke's moving on. I can leave the basement door open when carrying clothes.

Every time I do, though, I sigh when I don't shut the door.

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.