Some moments inspire us to be something more … the something that pushes us to reach for the dream and believe it is attainable. My moment, a day etched in my mind and heart, came during the summer of 1963.

At the time, our family lived in military housing in Millington, Tennessee. If you grew up military, then you know moving was a way of life. Yet despite all the moves, you could count on one thing: the military was your family. Although the faces would change, the underlying constant was there. We were all in this together.

In those days, you had two kinds of friends. The first—those who came by invitation only—were those who came to your front door and rang the bell. But the second … aaahhh, these friends were your back-door friends. No invitation needed. You might knock, but usually, you just stuck your head in and hollered. The door was never locked, and your presence didn’t need explanation. YOU were a back-door friend.

That summer day in ‘63 was like any other: warm, humid and lazy (for a kid, at least). It was mid-morning, and I was getting ready to go outside and play. Upon hearing the slap of the screened back door two or three times, I knew my mother’s morning ritual had begun.

Knowing my mother had company, I knew I needed to be quiet as I headed out to play. Silently, I headed to the kitchen. But that day, something stopped me just around the corner. I caught a glimpse of my mom and her friends sitting around the kitchen table, drinking their coffee, deep in conversation. The women leaned in, listening intently to my mom. I, too, listened as they shared their struggles and concerns, seeking my mom’s wisdom and guidance. The conversation became animated as each of them wrestled with facts and fiction, ultimately discovering the truth that would give them the understanding they sought. At some point, my mom noticed me standing there watching and listening; but instead of fussing that I was listening to adult conversation, she gave me a warm smile and said, “Christina Ann, time to go out and play.” At that moment, I knew that I wanted to grow up to be just like my mom, the kind of friend that others could open the back door and holler. Coffee ready, kitchen table clear, and plenty of caffeinated conversation to go around.

This blog is the result of that dream. I invite you to open the back door with coffee in hand, sit down, and engage with me in lively, meaningful conversation. We will tackle the hard, the humorous, and the holy. Welcome back-door friends. Shall we begin?

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