Monday, December 14, 2009

The Back Door

This is the view out the back door of an old house in the Haven Beach vicinity. The photographer no doubt had some sort of compelling reason to be in on the property, but that is most definitely not what we're here to talk about today. Or ever.

This back door reminds me of an ongoing source of confusion within the Chesapeake Bay Family, and that's whether to call the back yard the back yard or to call it the front yard. And if you're confused, then you're right where you need to be.

You see, some people--i.e. Chesapeake Bay Mother--call the back yard the front yard if that yard is on the water, also known as waterfront property. The house fronts the water, so that is the front of the house. If you're asking yourself when this agonizing post will be over, the answer is soon.

But Chesapeake Bay Mother was the only one in our family who called our back yard the front yard. Everyone else called it the back yard because it was in the back of the house as you approached from the road and why in the world am I explaining what a back yard is to people who already know?

This caused confusion for decades. When Chesapeake Bay Mother asked us to do something out front, we'd end up in the wrong yard. If she asked us to get something from the back yard, we couldn't find what it was we were supposed to be retrieving because we were on the wrong side of the house.

And now, dear reader, it's time for me to shut the front door and stop this rambling nonsense. Please hold your applause until I say a few more things.

There were two reasons for this post today: to share this shot of bright sunlight streaming through the old screen door of a house being taken over by nature; and to convey to future generations that my mother attempted to teach us the correct terminology for the orientation of a house vis-a-vis the water but it was lost on me. As is the phrase "vis-a-vis" which I pulled from thin air.

15 comments:

Grandma J said...

OK, here's the thing....if you can travel to your home via water from Texas, then the back yard would become the front yard. But then it would kind of weird to have the hot tub in the front yard, so you'd have to move it to the front of the property, which would then become the back yard.

It's past my bedtime, as if you couldn't tell.

Grandma J said...

I just noticed Chesapeake Bay DAUGHTER commented on my blog! Thank you GF! I miss you!

Country Girl said...

The back yards of both of your houses front the water. It's still a back yard. It just fronts the water. Where you find your front door is where your front yard will be. I think your family is hilarious!

And really cool photo. You are getting braver.

Caution Flag said...

I love back doors. There is something so intimate about them. I honestly wish I didn't have a doorwall, but had a regular door instead.
Does your mom struggle with left and right, too, or is it just front and back?

Breezeway said...

We always called the water side of a house the front. In our case, the front yard was the beach. As far as I cared, we didn't even need a back yard, other than having somewhere to park! Don't know if that terminology issue is only a problem around here, but I run into all the time.

Mental P Mama said...

I think your back yard is on the water. So there. Now, shut the front door!

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

I agree with Country Girl and MPM. But I live in Maryland your mom lives next door, so you should probably just listen to her.

big hair envy said...

Your mom is right. The front yard of waterfront homes always faces the water.....no matter where your front door is located;) See? Clear as mud.

Diane said...

It's a great photo!
At our house, the back yard is the ones with the squirrels that torment the Chihuahuas. The front yard is full of raccoons that torment the cats.

Annie said...

Well, I say the front yard is the one that fronts the water...if I had a house on the water, I sure would call it the front yard too...maybe it depends on what age you are...or as Grandma J says...how you are traveling, though I am afraid no amount of reasoning is unlikely to change my mind on this one.

I was going to say to check where your front door was, but even that won't make me change my mind. Rather intractable on front yards and water...well, that it is unless it floods...then perhaps we could call it the pool?

wv "TALRUS". mmm. Are they trying to be funny...did you have any tall walrus there at any time?

Annie said...

ps I forgot to say, that I also like the photo. As you might know I am rather partial to doors, and sunshine.

pps Happy Monday.

Daryl said...

My vocabulary doesnt include the word 'trespass' .. OTOH I only have a yard stick and I am betting thats nothing like a front or back yard no matter what it borders on .. faces or whatever

VW: idsma which is the text version a reply to the question Ducma?: I did see ma.

ghostless said...

This brings back memories...My grandfather had this big brick colonial house with a circular driveway. The door, which as a child, I always considered the front door opened into one end of the foyer, facing the stairs, dining room on right and living room on left, the kitchen was to the back and on the side. same as the house I grew up in. Made sense to me. As a teenager/young adult, at my grandfather's passing the house was sold...and lo and behold...that was the back door. The realtor's ad showed the house from the "real" front which faced the farm land...not water...and you could see structurally that is was intended to be the front! Blew me away...as a 20 year old in the 60's I was already confused enough!!! Peace!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Thank you for commenting, it's been another arduous Monday. Let's just leave it at that. Arduous.

I'm glad to see that there is some difference of opinion on this whole topic of front yard vs. back yard, but I will concede that most likely the side that fronts the water is the front, even if it's in the back yard.

As BHE says, it's as clear as mud.

Happy Monday, everyone. A week from Thursday is Christmas according to the gossip around the office. If there's any truth to that, I'm in big trouble.

foolery said...

Three new options you haven't considered:

side yard
kitchen yard
exercise yard

No, I know it's not a prison, but maybe you can shoehorn it in?