All Done Just By Cleaning My House . . . . . .
I recently cleaned my house and it was like visiting an old friend. I dusted, picked up and handled vases, chairs, books and furniture that I have certainly used, or seen every day, but not really touched, handled and ‘known’ for a long time. It was good. Really good.
Now, anyone who has even a passing acquaintance with my weekly words, knows that house cleaning isn’t my long suit. Oh, I know how, for I am the daughter of Nettie Ohlin, my mother, but I’ve never found joy in the task and turned the chore over to others as soon as I could. As I recall it was when my second son was about two years old, and I’ve never seriously gone back to it.
But a day came recently when I saw I was living in dust and confusion, and also knew my ‘angel-with-wings’ , Crystal, because of holiday/vacation mix-ups, wasn’t due for a time, and so . . . early one morning I disciplined myself and went to work.
Yeah, I donned grubbies and began working. It took almost a full day to finish the task, but by golly, I was proud of the job I had done, and also knew that Mom would have been surprised, but also pleased with my work.
It really shouldn’t have taken so long, but once into the job, I began enjoying myself and found myself doing a few extras I hadn’t planned on, and I needed cleaning items I don’t usually purchase. Anyway, I took off for a store where I seldom go, and where no one would know me, (Yeah, still in my grubbies), bought what I needed and could almost hear Mom saying, “If you’re going to do it, Ethel, get the correct material and do it right.” See, , Mom was a good teacher. It was the student that got poor grades.
But once started, I went the full 20 yards, and patted myself on the shoulders and grinned to know that Crystal would wonder, too. Oh, well, I even washed a small set of curtains and felt one with women of all times as I improvised and hung them outside to dry in the sun and breeze, The neighbor’s cat came and rubbed against my legs as I did that age-old chore. and felt a ‘rightness’ with my actions that I loved and had a feeling that all the dryers in the world can not duplicate. I even loitered with my task to prolong that feeling of comfort .
As I ran the wand of my vacuum along the baseboard of what had once been my bedroom and when it ‘caught’ on an imperfection in the board, I grinned and felt as if I had run into an old friend . Yeah, I know how I once cussed Luke Morris, the builder, but now
it was good to stumble upon that old familiar bump and found myself saying, aloud “Hey there ,you ole bump, it’s nice to meet up with you again, and I just dare some fussy carpenter, painter or cleaner to try so smooth you away. I’ve almost even come to loving you.”
So It’s still there. And will continue there as long as I live. Then it will be someone else’s ‘bump’ and they can do as they please, for there will be no memories for them and they might even wonder how I tolerated it for so long.
With bare feet I re-discovered the slight difference in the level of the floors between some of my rooms and recalled how Brad and I had differed on how to cope with those differences. I won, however, and they are still here. And I also smiled at Brad over that old Difference and hope, in whichever of God’s Rooms he now dwells. and if he happened to be watching my splurge of industry, that he grinned, too.
During that day I dusted pictures that I first saw hanging on Gram’s walls. I put a tablecloth my mother had made upon a small table. Touched some old sad-irons that had sat in Brad’s Ham Shack, and dusted pieces of china that my friend Florence once gave me.
I found that cleaning one’s home really is like visiting old friends and I loved it. And when my frenzy finally ended I went to bed tired, sweaty, soiled, hair a mess, with aching arms, but also feeling so domestic it blended into a mood of righteousness. Almost near to virtuosity.
The mood didn’t last beyond that day, and I knew nothing can ever tempt me to ever, ever be without those angel-wings of Crystal. But for that one day, it was wonderful Sometimes, getting back to basics is good for the Soul, as well as for the house. Amen.