Old Mrs Hilda Pinkerton may have turned ninety, but she was no slug. She was as sprightly as a lively fifty year old. She drove her own car. She did her own shopping. She cleaned her own house. She volunteered twice a week to deliver Meals-on-Wheels to people around the town. But there was one thing she wouldn’t do. She wouldn’t knock on a door. No doorbell, no delivery. She simply would not knock with her knuckles. Knock! Knock! Knock! Anybody home?
She herself had a button to push at her front door. It would ring most pleasant chimes in the house. How lovely to get visitors! Talk! Talk! Talk! Could Mrs Hilda Pinkerton talk! And the kettle was always hot in case someone visited. But if someone knocked on her door she wouldn’t answer. Never. Never. Never.
It had been well-nigh seventy years since Mrs Hilda Pinkerton had physically knocked on a door. Since giving up such a practice she had married twice, had six children, been widowed twice, become a grandmother and a great-grandmother, and thrice won a potted plant and a large jar of marmalade at Bingo.
She could still hear it. In her head. That knock on the door seventy years ago. Knock! Knock! Knock!
Knock! Knock! Knock! It was the policeman come to tell that her brother had been killed in the war.