After reading Sallie’s guest post my mind begin studying on the subject of steps.
First I wondered if I called them steps or stairs. I think I almost always say steps as in the basement steps or the porch steps, but I’m not positive.
I thought of the steps Pap built. The ones that lead to the basement in his house are built with rough sawn lumber with the rough edges still visible. Or at least they were visible until Granny went on a cleaning spree one time and painted everything in the unfinished basement white.
I remember other houses Pap built when I was young having those same rough sawn lumber steps, I don’t guess they’d pass building codes today.
A set of steps is a tricky thing to build. There’s all sorts of angles to think about. It makes my brain hurt just thinking about the engineering it takes to build a set of steps that are easy to walk up and are inline with the opening at the top and the space at the bottom. The Deer Hunter is really good at getting it right when building wooden steps, because Pap taught him.
Funny one set of steps that came to my mind didn’t even exist.
For my entire time of living at Pap and Granny’s their backdoor (which only Granny calls the front door) opened to a drop of about four or five feet. Pap never got around to building the steps when he first built the house because Granny wanted a porch and at the time they were out of money.
I was married before Granny got her porch.
She used to tease me and say her front porch was in my mouth—meaning she paid for my braces instead of her porch. It wasn’t just my braces that stopped her from getting the porch. There was never much money and always something that needed fixing or paying for.
Probably my favorite steps were the ones around the old Martins Creek School. There were four entrances to the big building, two on each side. Some of them, I think all but one set, had flat pieces of concrete on the tops of the columns that supported the steps. Those flat places made the perfect location for kids to congregate.
There was one more set of steps at the school that led from the road down to the lunchroom, kindergarten, and first grade building. Since the big building burned several years ago this is the only set left today.
I spent hours on the various steps at Martins Creek School, talking, goofing, sliding down the hand rails, and playing games. I don’t remember the one Sallie mentioned but we played Mother May I and Simon Says on steps and probably other games I’ve forgotten. The steps in the back of the building made a good resting place when we were having marathon jump rope sessions.
Have you ever heard of people who count steps? I noticed Chitter’s propensity for counting steps when she was fairly young. Chatter counted people’s words, but that’s a story for another day.
As I was writing this post I yelled and asked Chitter if she knew how many steps were on the porch she yelled back “There’s 13 porch steps, 12 basement steps, and 10 steps in the yard.”
Back when I was still working at the college a colleague was talking about a set of steps on campus and the security guard was standing nearby. He said I can’t tell you exactly how long they are but there’s 30 of them. We said “How do you know that?” He said “I count steps,” and then went on to tell the number of steps in various other locations on campus. Until then I thought Chitter was the only step counter in the world 🙂
I learned something about myself and steps after I started working at the Folk School.
My office is on the second floor and the bathroom is on the first floor. Along with arriving, leaving, and going to lunch all that =s a lot of going up and down.
One of the ladies next door said she could always tell it was me coming up the steps because I ran up them. I thought I do? I started paying attention and realized it is much easier for me to go quickly up a set of steps than it is to go slowly so that’s what I do without even thinking. While I feel like I might fall if I go slow Chitter says if she tries to go fast she feels like she might fall. All that is neither here nor there, but it is interesting to study on how unique us humans and our peculiarities are, even when we’re mother and daughter.