The Screen Door Incident · 26 August 2012

Screen doors make me chuckle. For over thirty years every time I open or even see a screen door, I remember my dad’s screen door incident.

My dad is not perfect, but by his own admission, he is pretty close. So everybody remembers when he does something silly. Or ridiculous. Which is why Mom likes to tell the story about Dad installing the screen door.

When we moved into our house long ago, it had no screen door to the back patio outside the daylight basement. Mom wanted to be able to leave the sliding glass door open so she had Dad put in the screen door. One of my brothers and I helped him out a little while Mom supervised. In no time at all, the screen door was hung and sliding smoothly back and forth.

Dad demonstrated how smoothly by sliding it back and forth. Forth and back. It slid beautifully. It opened and closed with no effort at all.

Dad was inside when he made the timely warning, “Remember, there is a screen door now.” He wanted to make sure none of us ran into the brand new beautiful screen door. After all, he would remember and he wanted us to remember too. Then, he started walking outside to clean up his tools. Unfortunately, the brand new screen door was closed. Dad walked right into and through the screen door. Immediately after his warning to all. Fortunately, it did not rip the screen, but Dad’s momentum took the door off its rails, bent the frame, and caused havoc – there was uproarious, unbridled laughter from everybody.

Mom practically writhed on the floor laughing hysterically. Even today over thirty years later, she cannot help but laugh as she describes Dad’s hat brim hitting the screen, going into his face, and flopping the back of the hat up. She can barely describe through her giggles his face squishing against the screen as he made contact. But she always points out her favorite part of the whole incident – the timing. “The funniest part of the whole thing was that Dad had just told everybody to remember the new screen door right before he walked through it.” Of course, she falls down on the floor laughing right after she says it.

It is a good thing that Dad is so close to perfect. Whenever Mom tells the story of the screen door, he sits back and tries to look perturbed that she is telling the story yet again. However, he cannot help but laugh, even during the umpteenth telling of the story. For he knows it is only funny because it points out one of his few tiny flaws.

Today, that screen door is still sliding back and forth on its rails. It has never been the same since Dad walked through it and it takes deliberate effort to slide it open or closed without making it more cockeyed. It has been a while since I opened or closed the particular object of mirth, but every time I open one, I remember The Screen Door Incident. And I chuckle.

© 2012 Michael T. Miyoshi

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