Our homes, and most homes I have visited, always boasted a doormat. Fat rectangles or ovals of tufted coir, they sat firmly outside the front door bearing the word ‘Welcome’ stamped on them. They greeted the visitor and kept the outside dirt to a minimum, especially in the monsoons. Dogs and cats loved them, as did their fleas.
One would hardly think that something as mundane as a doormat would provide memories, but they do!
One Christmas season, while shopping at Cheap Jack’s (guaranteed to empty your purse!) I espied a pile of coir neatly cropped into that familiar rectangular. The topmost one was imprinted with a humongous paw print and the legend ‘Pawse and wipe!’ which caused me to squeal, ‘How cute!’ This was added to the already loaded bill. Browsing through the pile we found some more which would eventually find their way to stockings supposedly filled by Santa.
One bearing the legend, ‘Is this the time to come home?’ was ‘left’ at a sister-in-law’s front door (three teenage children prompted the purchase!). Another, ‘Beware of the wife’ was gifted to a neighbour. Funnily, the wife saw the humour while the husband was affronted. Our front door was graced by ‘All our visitors bring us pleasure, some by coming and some by going’. Our neighbours used to switch mats when we were out and we switched them back when we returned – a juvenile pastime, but a fun way to stay young. ‘Beware of the dog!’ did not apply – ours were too friendly.
Sadly, though coir lasts and lasts, the depredations suffered over time (lots of dirty shoes, the building sweeper and the dogs) required the mats to be replaced. This means that we are always on the lookout for something interesting and colourful.
Once, we opted for ever-lasting plastic ‘imitation’ grass. Fully washable. Around that time our neighbour’s son was a toddler who loved to play in the corridor. Reluctant to break play to visit the loo, he would water the mat. He could pee without leaving that telltale puddle. What he didn’t realise was that pee leaves a telltale pong! The mat was jettisoned without further ado.
Now, our doormat sits inside the front door (thanks to the building cat and its resident fauna) more ornamental than useful. Rubber backed, the carpet-like fabric bears a colourful design but no legend.
Come Christmas week it will be washed and put away to be replaced by one which says, ‘Merry Christmas’ – also acquired from (Not so) Cheap Jack’s and lovingly preserved over the years.And, yes, this one definitely resides inside the front door with the injunction ‘please do not wipe your feet’!