By Evelyn Richardson Here and There

"Don't bring them in the back door!" my mother would say to me as we saw people other than family approaching the house. That was my cue to go meet them warmly and guide them to the front door if they wished to come in. Not that all persons were not welcome to enter any door, but the back door area was quite likely to be less presentable.

Sweaty overalls and shirts hung from nails in the wall outside the back door. Muddy boots and brogans were kicked to the side.

Used wash water might still be in the galvanized tubs.

The back door was the drop-off place for whatever we had in our overloaded arms when we were going through, from stove wood to produce from the truck patch. The area could nearly always use some tidying up.

Worst of all, wandering chickens seemed to be drawn to the back steps. Their droppings needed to be washed off regularly with a sprinkler of water and an old broom.

Cats wound around your feet at the back door, and dogs lay close by licking their own mangy spots.

The back door led directly into the kitchen, and that inside area might not make the very best impression, either. The slop bucket seemed always to need emptying, and its contents looked just plain nasty to anybody other than the hogs.

Food preparation from the farm to the table can get pretty messy when you handle the whole process yourself. The kitchen bore the brunt of this work, and cleaning the counters and mopping the linoleum floor had to be the last step.

Taking the company toward the front door provided an opportunity to comment on the fragrant cape jasmine bush blooming at the corner and the profusion of petunia blossoms in the flower bed that season.

This also gave my mother time to change into a fresh apron and push her hair back from her face before she came through the house to greet the guests.

Our front door did not lead into a parlor as at many homes but the living room was clean and orderly, the rocking chairs had cushions and there was a bought carpet on the floor, allowing us to put our best foot forward.