The sun was shining so brightly that morning that it warmed my soul. It made me flash on a memory from when I was a child of around ten years old.
It was springtime and one of the first truly warm days after a cold winter had arrived. To my mother spring meant cleaning. Not just sweeping and moping cleaning. This meant deep, deep cleaning. This was when the living room furniture was hauled out onto the front lawn. The room was stripped bare of furniture, pictures, curtains and me. I was exiled to the front yard with the furniture.
With a cotton cloth over the straws of the broom, Mom would sweep the ceiling and walls. A dry cloth followed by a wet cloth wiped away the dust from the window and door frames. The baseboards got the same treatment while she crawled around on hands and knees.
The windows were cleaned with white vinegar and gave the house a pungent smell that lasted for days. The outside of the windows would be cleaned the same way at a later date when the storm windows were taken down and stored away in the cellar.
The walls were inspected and spot scrubbed before a general wipe down with another damp towel. Touch up painting might follow the cleaning or possibly the walls would get a completely new color coating of fresh paint. That year no painting was needed.
The wooden floor was swept and then a well soaped scrub brush was applied to the floor, again on hands and knees. The floor was then rinsed several times and then a few coatings of liquid wax were applied.
While this was taking place inside the house, it was my job to clean the furniture. The cushions came off the couch and Mom’s chair. This was a special treat because I got to keep any coins found in the couch. I usually came up with more pencils and small toys than I did money but it was still a treasure hunt. And then I got to whack the overstuffed and upholstered furniture with a rug beater. What young boy could pass up a chance to beat up a couch?
Of course in my imagination I was taking down a buffalo or some such beast with my bare hands. Clouds of dust would come out into the bright sunlight and sparkle like flecks of gold in the air. Sometimes they were stars as I went hurling through the cosmos in my space ship.
The wooden furniture got a dusting and then I was allowed to rub them down with furniture oil. This was long before I ever heard of lemon scented furniture polish. I don’t know what kind of oil it was but it had a pleasant earthy aroma.
With the warm sun soaking into my skin I was transported to the old west where I was wiping down my horse after a long ride through the desert, where I had been tracking down rustlers.
I was always done with my job before Mom finished her cleaning. Sometimes I would transform the couch into a car and go for a drive. Sometimes I would be chased by spies! I might be held prisoner in a jail cell formed by the back of wooden chairs. And sometimes exhausted by all my adventures I would lay on the cool green grass and be filled with the smell of earth, the sounds of robins and cardinals, and the heat of the sun with the feel of the breeze tickling the hairs on my arm. And then I would sleep.
GOODNIGHT AND GOD BLESS.
©2021 Thomas E Williams