Everyone is blessed with one Mom. God has blessed me with two. Of course, only one is biological, but the other is for just-in-case, I guess. I’ve always heard it’s good to have a back-up, but have you ever heard of a back-up Mom? Mom 2, as I call her, is the mom of my friend (who is as close as a sister) from our old neighborhood we moved into when I was in the seventh grade. They moved in about six months after we did, and their daughter was in the sixth grade. Close enough
Through the years, this family of three became like family to us. My feet were under the Johnson table almost as much as they were under my own. Mom 2 put up with me during my awkward, goofy 13th year and all the years since, through all the other phases of my life. You know, the really good ones, the not-so-good ones, and the awful ones! She always has some humor to share, lifting our spirits with a good hearty laugh. Mom 2 was always the “Queen of Clean”. Her husband (Daddy 2) has passed on now, but he used to tell stories of how he’d get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and come back to find the bed already made. Didn’t surprise me. Anytime you had the notion, you could eat off her always-squeaky floors, even with their Dachshund running around. I never saw a dog hair land on that floor, much less catch a dust bunny of any kind. Mom 2 was diligent, not only inside, but outside, too. Their garage, walkways, and driveway never had a stray sprig of pine straw on them, because she was constantly sweeping. The blisters Mom 2 must have kept on her hands, y’all!
We have a dog in the house, and I clean my floors, but you would never want to eat off them! Not without “pthewy-ing” several times, anyway. Bravery would also be required. No one warned me that living in the country on a gravel road would make you give up on dusting altogether. I’ve grown accustomed to a fine layer of tan coating on my furniture, y’all. As long as you don’t move anything, no one knows the difference. In our previous house in a neighborhood, I tried to have it clean to welcome anyone coming by for a visit. (I said, “tried”, so those of you that visited can’t call me a liar.) But out here away from most folks, we don’t have people dropping by for visits very often. I still try (there’s the word again) to keep things picked up, but I surely am not motivated to scrub light fixtures and baseboards on a regular basis. And, no longer do I decorate for each season like I once did. That was a huge let-down after we moved here when I realized no one would be around to enjoy it except us, and the kids were getting too old to care about fun seasonal decor.
Speaking of seasons, that reminds me of a particular Johnson story, one in a long line of memories. One Halloween, during my teen years, our doorbell rang a little before all the trick-or-treat-ers had started rolling by. When I opened the front door, there stood all three of the Johnson’s, each with a brown paper grocery bag over their head! And, one of them was holding their Dachshund with a brown paper lunch bag over his head!! I wish I had a picture of that, y’all! We surely have years of treasured memories with my second family. They kept us laughing, and it never hurt that they were regularly creative in their antics.
Mom 2 has shared the fruit of her labor through the years, and I always looked forward to her jars of strawberry fig preserves and pear relish, any meal she invited me to crash, and her gifts of awesome lemon fruitcake at Christmas. This is not the fruitcake that gets passed around the world that no one eats, y’all. This is the fruitcake we all fight over and never have a crumb remaining after a family gathering. She grew her own figs, pears, and probably many things I never knew about in her half-acre yard, then she lovingly prepared her laborious but delicious offerings for others to enjoy. (Reminds me of the Proverbs 31 woman, and that she is!)
Getting back to my excited anticipation, yet panic-of-today. Mom 2 is coming to visit. Yay! But, oh, the Queen of Clean is sure to be amazed at my collections! Dust on the furniture, dirt-clods from the fields on the floors – normal stuff we collect in these days of country life. Also, I’ve been knee-deep into a sewing project, so the upstairs is littered with little thread snips and fabric pieces, plus some finished and almost-finished product lying around. On the plus side, I have some beautiful flowers and a tree growing in the yard that originated from the yard of her recent home in Memphis. If it’s not too hot, I’ll just keep her in the yard enjoying her garden give-aways long enough to make her eyes too blinded to see the dirt when we come inside the house. Sounds like a workable plan.
It’s a funny thing about Moms, though, whether the first or the second. They love you – no matter what your house looks like! Nonetheless, I am determined to at least hit the high points of cleaning so this second mom will not be completely appalled at country life. This transplanted country girl has tried (that word!) to take after Mom 2 in some areas, at least. I’m not a “Queen of Clean”, but I have planted a pear tree and a fig tree, and I’ve tried (and again!) to get them to live long enough to bear fruit for some laborious offerings of my own, and I have Mom 2’s recipes to make them. But you know as well as I, mine will never be as delicious as hers! No matter how hard I’ve tried (!). That’s just the way it always is.
Well, I found my mop, so it’s time to get busy, y’all! I’ll try (really!) to give you all a “hoot” again soon.