Like most people I have a to do list, consisting of things like repainting the living room, redoing the bathroom, putting in new kitchen cupboards, trimming the lilacs so the post person will deliver my mail, stuck on the door of my fridge. There are many other things as well, and from time to time, when the mood and inclination strike me, I will gird up my lions, figuratively, wade in and tackle one of my pressing projects.
One that has been waiting its turn with great patience is installing a door to the basement. I’ve been told, that doing this will save energy costs, since it isn’t heated. Not being the greatest carpenter in the world, or even the second greatest, I’ve put this off for several years.
One day I decided that it was time to beard the lion in its den so to speak, and tackle the basement door, so I approached a friend of mine for advice, because he’s built a few houses in his time.
We we’re sitting down for a cold one at our favorite watering hole, and after I’d downed a couple or three Guinness’s I finally had the courage to ask his advice on how to install a door.
“So you want to hang a door,” he said, smiling, and downing half a pint in one gulp, as he waved down a passing waitress for another round.
With images of a door swinging from the nearest cottonwood tree as the pinto pony raced away from underneath as the Sherriff slapped it hard on the rump I cringed back in my seat and gulped, “I don’t want to hang anything, or anyone. I just want to put up a door.”
He looked at me with one of his odd looks, slugged down more Guinness, “First of all,” he said, wiping the foamy mustache off his lips, “You’ll need to install door jam.”
“Where do I find door jam,” I inquired, trying to keep a straight face. He’d pulled my leg on other occasions. Like sending me to buy a left-handed pipe wrench and a bucket of steam, and ever since then I’ve taken everything he’s told me with a shaker of salt.
He looked dead serious this time, so I asked again, “Where do I find this door jam.”
“‘I’ll take you to the right place if you like.”
I didn’t trust the look in his eye, and I didn’t want him to be there if I ended up making a fool of myself once again, so I mumbled through my beer, “No thanks, I’ll manage.”
We finished our drinks at the same time, and since he’d offered advice, I paid our tab. He went his way, and I headed off to the closest grocery store for door jam.
It turned out to be one of those super stores that bragged, “If we don’t have it, then you didn’t need it.”
I prowled up one side of the jam aisle and down the other, reading the labels with great intensity. Jars bearing the names, strawberry, raspberry, rhubarb, peach, apricot, plum leered at me as I lifted them off the shelves and looked behind, hoping I would find door jam lurking at the back of the shelves. No such luck.
After an hour of taking every jar of jam off the shelves, and replacing them as best I could in some kind of order, I was about ready to give up my quest and call my friend for help, but the thought of his demonic laughter, and his supercilious smirk kept my cell phone in my pocket.
“May I help you,” came loud and deep from behind me.
I whirled around to face the author of the voice and looked up into a pair of grey eyes that looked at me as if I were desecrating his grandmother’s grave.
I stumbled over my words, “I’m…I’m looking for door jam. Do you have any?”
“Of course,” he said, his eyes and face beginning to fill with a puzzled look. “We couldn’t open or close are doors without it.”
“Where do you keep it,” I gasped, making up my mind right there and then to apologize to my friend for doubting him.
“Where everybody keeps their door jam,” he said, looking at me as if I’d just crawled out from under a bag of flour. He gave me one more strange look, turned on his heels, stiffened his back and marched away, leaving me as frustrated as ever.
Needless to say the, basement is still waiting for me to hang the door. If any of you happen to have any spare door jam, I’d appreciate it if you would lend me a jar or two.