I live in a very well established, white, middle-class neighborhood. (I have shared this before.) I estimate that about 90% of the houses here are occupied by their owners, not renters. The properties are well-kept for the most part. Though this is not a high-end neighborhood, by a long stretch, it fits very comfortably in “the American Dream”, I think.
I like to take leisurely walks, jogs, and/or bike rides around my neighborhood. This area is pleasing to the eye; its virtually a garden in which my neighbors and I live and make our homes.
Each property is unique. No two are alike with enough difference between them that no one would ever confuse one for another. AND YET they are not all that different either. There is a strong, though unofficial, sense of homogeneity.
I wonder, sometimes, what makes my home stand out. How would a stranger know that the “welcome” mat at my house really means what it says? Though the visual difference is quite subtle, one of the key distinctions between my house and virtually all of my neighbors is that I have no home security placards on my fence or in my flower bed. Like all my neighbors, I have a “welcome” mat, but no subtle cue for you to keep your distance coincides with it.
As I have noted before, I find the pairing of those things to be ironic. One sign signals you are wanted while the other signals to keep out. It’s all the look of welcome with none of the burden – and thus not authentic.
(Reminds me of church!)
But there is this one house about five blocks from me where it is obvious that the lady decorates her yard, flower bed, and porch with a slightly off-beat sense of décor. Her house sits on a corner lot, and there is a door facing each street. The thing that I find remarkable about this place is that one door has a “welcome” mat, but the other bears a sign that says “Open”.
I like that. A sign on the door that says “open” is odd, but it takes “welcome” to the next level. Don’t you think? It gives cause for pause at least. This isn’t a place of business; it’s someone’s home. They are not taking money from patrons; they welcome people. Or so I think.
One of these days I will knock on that door and see if it is really open. I hope it is. I notice a huge Texas-size smoker and grill out by the back fence, and if that place is really open, I bet the food is worth the stop. I just wonder if the couple who lives there is named Abe n Sarah… (Gen. 18 anyone?)