As is customary with colonial architecture, on the front of our house is a stoop. For those of you unfamiliar with a stoop, it’s a small raised concrete and brick platform at the entry of a home. While the wife and I are not exactly thrilled with this stoop (in fact we think it’s stupid), it is quite appropriate for our style of home.
Now for the first 30-some years of homeownership, the stoop did not pose any problems. The wife and I had been young, agile whipper-snappers who could easily circumnavigate the railing-less structure with aplomb. Scaling the two steps to the front door was a breeze.
However, last year we turned 67 years old and all of the sudden our little stoop has become a falling hazard, a recipe for disaster, a death trap.
“Dear, I am very concerned,” the wife said very concerned-like. “We have got to do something about the stoop before one of us gets killed.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked innocently. “We’ve had that stoop for 33 years and not once have I had to scoop a body off of it. Well, there was that one encyclopedia sales lady back in the ’80s who passed out from heat stroke. I told her next time only carry volumes A-M.
“We need a railing. We’re older now and we need something to hold on to while we negotiate the steps.”
“Last year you were 66 and you negotiated the steps just fine without railings. What’s happened? Did you lose a limb I don’t know about?”
“We’re older now. We have a lot of friends who are older. I just think we should provide a secure handhold so that our guests will feel welcomed and safe.”
“Ridiculous,” I said. “I am not going to put up some stupid railing. They look dumb. They rust or peel. They’re not architecturally in character with a colonial motif. Wild horses could not drag me to Home Depot to purchase stoop-ed railing accoutrements!”
“Wow. Aplomb? Motif? Accoutrements? Did you just get off the boat from France? Where did you learn those Frenchy words? Seriously, dear, we need something to hang on to. … Wait, you just gave me an idea — wild horses!.”
“I’m pretty sure we are not zoned for wild horses, hon. And I don’t even want to think about that kind of poop on my stoop.”
“Think about it,” the wife said. “Back in Colonial America, before automobiles, what did people tie their horses up to when they visited friends?”
“A parking meter?” my witty response.
Giving me one of her famous eye-rolls (the woman can see her own brain with one of those) the wife said, “A hitching post. We can put up a decorative hitching post on either side of the steps to provide a secure handhold for people coming to our home. Very often these hitching posts were made of cast iron capped with beautifully sculpted horses’ heads — wild horses.”
“You know what? I like that idea.While providing a necessary safety function, the hitching posts will be copasetic with our Colonial architecture.”
“What ev…” the wife said. “OK, now that I have given you the idea, you make it happen.”
A little web-surfing, Home Depot-ing, and painting, produced two
beautiful black wild horse hitching posts. Now people can get up and down our stoop with the assurance that if they had a horse, they would have a place to park it.
Raul Ascunce is a freelance columnist for the Sentinel-Tribune. He may be contacted