In Our Own Backyard...Dust bunnies or daydreams?I’m having a hard time doing my spring cleaning this year.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
I’m having a hard time doing my spring cleaning this year.
Normally, I haven’t even started on it by now, but with the earlier-than-usual advent of spring and the prospect of a houseful of company next weekend, I felt energized to get started with it.
Last Friday was the perfect day for it. I rolled up my sleeves and prepared to dig in. The skies were bright with sunshine, there was a hint of warmth in the air, and a soft breeze made it possible to open all the windows and let in the fresh air.
I decided to start with the kitchen – always one of those areas that needs the most attention – so I cleared all the countertops, scrubbed them down well, and prepared to put everything back in place. As I picked up my recipe box, I decided to take a little break and thumb through a few recipes in hopes of coming up with something wonderful to cook for our house guests next weekend.
Before I knew it I was walking down memory lane as I came across old favorites, others I had forgotten about, and still others written out in the dearly familiar handwriting of my aunt, my mom and my sister.
I grinned as my eye landed on the Big Family Burger recipe I’d clipped out of Good Housekeeping magazine and made for my son’s seventh birthday party many, many years ago – complete with a giant bun made out of an entire loaf of frozen bread dough! I recalled how we cooked the giant two-and-a-half-pound burger over the fire grate at Oldenberg Point in Jay Cooke Park, and how it took two spatulas – and two people – just to flip it over!
I couldn’t help but smile as I came across my mom’s well-loved spaghetti recipe (complete with a splash of sauce on one corner of the recipe card), and I shuddered in recollection as I read through the sugary sweet recipe for mint juleps (I had made a note on the bottom at some long ago time that said, “Use less sugar and more bourbon!”).
I felt a twinge of guilt as I came across my Aunt Maxine’s recipe for Shrimp in Aspic, penned in her once-familiar, carefully rounded hand writing, knowing full well that I had never gotten around to trying it.
By the time I had worked my way through the recipe box, it was nearly time for lunch.
That was pretty much the way the day went. I was working my way through the guest room closet when I came across a bag of children’s books that I used to read to my kids when they were little. I couldn’t help but take a few minutes to read through “Pudgy and Polly the Beavers” once again – though at one time I swear I knew it by heart!
The linen closet of an upstairs bathroom yielded our grandkids’ “Hello Kitty” and “Spiderman” toothbrushes, and I decided I’d set them out for their visit next weekend, though chances are they’ve far outgrown them.
In the back of one of the bedroom closets I discovered a painting my husband had done as a college student, and I simply had to take the time to unwrap it from its bubble wrap and take a look at it once again.
And as I was dusting the end table next to our bed, I pulled out my old jewelry box from the lower shelf and took time to go through each of the little drawers to see just what I had stashed there. I lingered over a necklace of acorns strung with yarn, made for me by one of my kids when they were little. I pulled out photo buttons featuring my daughter’s dance recital, my son’s Little League baseball photo, and a “Hockey Mom” button from some long-ago hockey tournament.
I reverently opened a velvet-lined jeweler’s box with my grandmother’s wedding ring in it, and I grinned over a set of two rhinestone-embedded horse pins given to me by my Aunt Annette, who said they reminded her of the two live horses – named Diamond and Sparkle – she once received from her husband-to-be in lieu of an engagement ring.
And then there was the charm bracelet that I started when I was a little girl, with charms on it from the places we visited while on a family visit out West.
The memories went on and on, and before I realized it, the day had gotten away from me. The thought occurred to me that if I didn’t cling to so much “stuff” over the years, my housekeeping duties would be a whole lot easier.
But just think of what I’d be missing...