The three of us, lunches finished, lingered over our sweet teas, were talking about what the rest of the day held.
“Errands”, “Manicure, car wash, pick up dinner” were my friends’ answers. “Sigh….” I said. “Why the long face, sis, asked Tammy, do you have something horrible to do?” “Well, I am going out to the cemetery to sit with mom for a bit, then I’m going home to clean, nothing horrible, but I always get a little sad, I don’t know why, I mean, mom is with me all the time.” “Maybe it’s because everyone around you there is dead. Don’t you get creeped out, sitting there all alone? Isn’t it spooky?”, replied Cathy. She’d know, her mom has been gone 10 years. “No, I find it comforting, actually. It’s quiet, peaceful, I can think clearer,” I said, “but perhaps I should clean first, then visit”,I’m pondering. “Hmm…why?” asked Tammy. I reply, ” ’cause y’all know how mom felt about a clean house, ” I’m now replaying memories, smirking, recalling quirks of mom’s. “She would be wagging her finger at me, I see it now. I haven’t mopped in a couple weeks, need to unload the dishwasher,” I begin thinking of the things I need to do, while my companions begin their lists, too. They sound as if they’d rather be getting root canals. “So, why was your mom so picky? Why are you so hard on yourself? Your house is always clean, it’s just you and a cat,” exclaims Cathy, “I have 4 teenage boys, a muddy yard, and a husband who “forgets” to take off his shoes, so my carpet is always a mess, and my house is never as clean as I want it, but with working 40 hours a week, the last thing on my day off that I wanna do is clean, eew…” “Yeah, I see that. I just clean as I go, that’s how I was raised. Take a shower? Use your washcloth to wipe down the sink, vanity, the shower before you get out. Cooking dinner? Clean your dishes, measuring cups, etcetera, as your meal is cooking. When you get up in the morning, make up the bed, pick up whatever was left on the nightstand, ya know?And I guess mom was really picky, because when my brother and sister were little, they rented, sometimes staying with Granny when money got right. When she married my dad, he built her a beautiful house. She’d never owned one before. A house, I mean. All wood floors, wood everything, baseboards, paneling, a bright shiny kitchen. She was so proud of that gorgeous house that anytime someone stopped by, namely relatives who lived in the neighborhood, she wanted a showplace. She cherished the oohs and aahs, the compliments. She cleaned and kept it clean because she was proud. Pride. That was her motivation, and she instilled that in me. I would say probably I’m proud, too. It says something when someone walks into your space and you know it looks the very best. People really do judge.”
My friends smiled, nodding, “Yeah, I get that” pans Cathy. “It sure does make a difference, Tammy noted, and concluded, things add up.”
“Great….now I feel like I need to go home and declutter, find the table under that mess and clean off the dust. Wipe the toothpaste spots off the mirror, clean the cook stove where soup bubbled over. Thanks, pal!” Says Cathy, sarcastically. They were both smiling. And I know, somewhere in the corner of Heaven, mom is smiling, too.