The aged wood is beginning to reveal its weaknesses against the power of the weather; cracks and chips follow its sinewy grain. The door hangs at a slight angle, giving way to the rise and fall and movement in the frame of the house itself; floating slightly with the spring rains, sinking again with the cooler weather and contracting concrete slab.
The door has translucent panels of yellow glass that sets off the dark brown stain. Hardware is more than 30 years old, original with the house and the heavy door placed in its protective, yet friendly station in the mid-’70’s.
Yesterday, we lost the doorknob.
For weeks, it had showed signs of weakness. We thought it was simply cold, and would recover with warmer weather this week. We were wrong, and yesterday, the knob- the heart of the front door- died.
From inside the house, I removed the knob and its coverplate, revealing its internal organs and mechanical apparattus that allowed the knob to function so well for so long. I could not find any reason for failure, and I decided that the knob must be replaced. With only the strike bolt in place, we prepared to say farewell to the old knob and to begin the search for its replacement.
But the striker bolt refused to budge. I tapped it lightly with a scredriver handle. I struck it forcefully with a hammer and chisel. As little pieces of metal were flying off in all directions, I assumed that we would soon have a replacement knob in place, and we could actually use the door again.
Sadly, I was mistaken.
Today, I removed the hinge pins in an effort to remove the door from the back side of the frame. I would not be denied use of the front door of my own home! Pushing; pulling; lifting; prying. Again, the door refused to budge. The heavy, weather-worn wooden door that had served as our protector from the outside for so long, has turned against us. It is now our captor.
We are now on day two without the use of our front door. The deadbolt locked; the hinge pins replaced; and the outer half of the knob in place so the neighbors wouldn’t see a towel sticking through the gaping hole to block the cold weather.
And tonight I will dream of the day when the difficult and obstinate old striker bolt gives way, and we can replace the door knob for good. Soon…. someday soon.