Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Backstairs

There's something about a back stairway that adds comfort to a home. They certainly did in my grandparent's old farmhouse. While the front oak stairway and banister were polished and kept immaculate, the backstairs were quite the opposite. Worn, made from planks of wood, some creaked; some were uneven. But they were such fun. We'd run up and down them-half running and half skipping through the five bedrooms and the bathroom with two doors. Tucked behind my grandmother's wood stove in the kitchen, you'd never know the stairs were there if the door was shut.

My mother used to tell how she and her sisters would run down them in the winter, anxious to seek heat from the woodstove. When we were very young, we'd hurry up those stairs to bed when staying over, especially when the adults told us if we didn't-a man up the road would be stopping by to find out why we were still up. It worked every time. That's when we rushed up those stairs so fast that a few times we tripped over each other.

Proably the best case for that back stairway in the rambling farmhouse was when we'd play hide 'n seek. Those rickety old stairs allowed for a great escape just before capture. Of course they gave us older kids a quick get-away from pesty, younger siblings and faster access if playing upstairs to good things cooking downstairs on the woodstove.

But most likely the fastest anyone came down those backstairs was on Christmas morning when my mother and her five sisters were young and still believed. That was one winter morning when gathering in the kitchen was not about getting warm. It was all about checking their stockings full of oranges and nuts as smells of cinnamon filled that home full of family and excitement.

That back stairway holds so many memories of little feet running up and down for countless reasons through every season over so many years. How lucky we were to be carried to adventures and getaways and hideaways by simple planks of worn wood. Sometimes-Simple is best!

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