When I was growing up, I remember seeing a sign in quite a few homes that said “Back door guests are best.” Even as a child, I understood what that meant, because I had a favorite back door. To this day, I still have a vivid memory of walking into my grandmother’s garage, between the deep freeze on the left and her white Mercury Grand Marquis on the right, continuing to the dryer sitting by the back door. There you took one step up, turned the knob, and then one more step up into the warmth of her galley kitchen. It was there, between her pantry and double oven, that you chose whether to “holler” when you came in or just walk through the kitchen and around the bar to surprise her as she waited to see who had walked in. At Wowo’s house, everyone came in the back door. If someone rang the front doorbell, you knew they were “sure ‘nuf company,” or they were lost!
I was an adult before I realized how special it was that so many people felt comfortable using Wowo’s back door. She made everyone who entered her home feel welcome, and she believed in being hospitable. That might be an understatement. Hospitality was her way of life. There are people in both Huntsville and Madisonville and other parts of the country who can tell you about the time they lived with Wowo when they needed a place a stay. There are many, many more who could tell you about the meals eaten at her table.
I have been fortunate…no…blessed in my life to have some very dear friends—many friends who I feel sure know they are “back door” guests. Recently, one of our dear friends called and said, “We’re moving, our kitchen is packed up, and I’m sick of eating out. Will you cook me a homemade meal?” That will go down in my memories as one of the best things a friend has ever asked of me. Of course, we cooked, and we ate, and we shared laughs. I revel in the knowledge that I have a dear friend who can be counted on to be REAL with me—even more, that she trusts me enough to BE that real. Having that thought was when I realized that Wowo’s legacy lives on. Back door guests really are the best.
Until next time ~ Karen