Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Wednesday, March 14, 2012

When the 'Clean Bug' Bites Deep

Don't let the outside fool you . . .
Mom was a 'clean machine'.
She loved swept floors, made beds and clean surfaces.
And spent her days with a dust rag in her apron pocket and a broom in her hands.
She often requested assistance.
But her six kids and assorted hired men didn't always comply.
She never gave up.
She was nothing if not persistent.
"Pick that up!" was a favourite saying.
Followed closely by, "Make sure you put that away when you're done!"
Which went with, "If you had put it where it belonged, you'd be able to find it now!"
And there was always the ever popular, "Be sure you leave a place cleaner than when you found it!"
Yep. My Mom.
She tried hard.
But her offspring and assorted other residents were slow to take up the slack.
My brother, George, 'got it' first.
Dad had built a new shop, to my two older, mechanically-minded brothers' specific specifications.
It was a beautiful shop.
Brightly lit.
Containing all of the newest and best of equipment.
And organized to the 'nth' degree by George.
He spent a lot of time there.
Organizing.
One day, Mom needed something.
Her quest took her into the hallowed halls.
She opened the shop door and stepped inside.
George looked up.
"Wipe your feet," he said.
Mom's legacy truly lives on.
The apple definitely stayed in the near vicinity of that tree.

18 comments:

  1. :-) I love this.

    I, too, was raised by a woman who believed there was no reason you couldn't just pick that up and put it away.

    I'm pretty much the same.

    Pearl

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have to second Pearl. Do you know why cleanliness and order totally went over the heads of my siblings and evaporated in space?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most of my siblings have a clean problem. Nothing is ever clean enough! Mom lives on!!!

      Delete
  3. LOL!!

    I love it. I too was born with the clean gene.

    It's recorded for all time and eternity right there in my baby book. I could barely walk and talk, but one day as I was looking out the window, my mom said I kept saying over and over again in baby talk "Fix it!" I kept pointing at a shovel that was left planted in the garden soil. My mom couldn't understand at first what I wanted...but with each questioning plea from my mother for me to explain more, I would just get more and more animated with my frustrations and say "Fix it!"

    She finally walked out there into the garden and put the shovel back into the shed. She then turned to look at me through the window to see if that helped. IT did. I was all smiles and waving. She had "fixed it". Put it back in it's proper place. And yes....I've been that way even to this day much to the dismay of my children. HA ha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, that's priceless, Lynn! "Fix it!" Yes. My Mom would have loved you. She would have held you up as an example to all of us. Probably a good thing we were raised in different parts of the country . . . :)

      Delete
  4. I would imagine that short request to "wipe your feet" took her aback for a moment or two.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She honestly didn't know what to do for a moment. But she finally laughed and complied. and rejoiced.

      Delete
  5. Oh girl I'm one twisted sister when it comes to clean, I even dedicate a day to it, Deep Clean Fridays. I just can't help myself, cleanin' makes my heart sing.

    It's just the way I fly!!!

    God bless ya and have yourself a sunshiny kinda day sweetie!!! :o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, I have to admit that I fly the same way! I LOVE a clean house! I'm my mother's girl! Sunshine right back at you! :)

      Delete
  6. I should be so lucky. My guys take a whole days work and turn everything upside down.Nothing I say or do can change it Nothing works because they read and watch the same programs I do about how to make your family do the things they are supposed to do in the house as I do.
    They are smarter with their responses than I am.
    So i gave up a long time ago cause I am the only one hurting here.
    My Moms house was also spotless. You could eat off her floors. lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After a while, you just have to let go of the pain! :) Or let go of your family. Hmmmm . . .

      Delete
  7. My mother was the same way. She smoked, thus she was ever busy keeping the house free of the smell. Too, she dusted, cleaned along the baseboards and, of course, kept the kitchen spotless.

    On the other hand (there are 4 fingers and a thumb), my sibs and I were not the best at picking up after ourselves.

    One day, mom came into the bedroom and caught my younger brother shooting his BB gun (you'll shoot your eye out!)at his model airplanes he has dangling from the ceiling. There were dents in a couple of walls from ricochets, which mom saw, but rather than flipping out and breaking a Daisy over his thick skull, she merely stated, "Pick up those damn BB's; I won't." With that she slipped away to continue her chores.

    To date I could not honestly testify about my brother's cleaning habits, or lack thereof, but I keep my place clean as a whistle, so to speak.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A BB GUN IN THE HOUSE???!!! Oh, your mom was a saint! He's lucky SHE didn't put an eye out! Just how clean IS a whistle?!

      Delete
  8. I have always been amazed at how women of that time were able to keep their homes so clean. Dirt driveways, dust blowing in the open windows, and they didn't have all the tools we have today. My hat is off to them!

    Whenever moms of young children come to me and are exasperated with their children, and lament that the kids obviously are never going to learn (fill in the blank), I reassure them with a story like yours, that the apple may take some time to ripen, but it generally doesn't fall far from the tree!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What's that scripture about training up a child? The operative part comes 'when he is older'. I think Mom clung to that. I know I did with my kids!

      Delete
  9. I well remember that clean shop. I also remember coming home from college during the winter to find that they (Mom and Dad) had put the chickens (in their cages) into my clean shop to keep them from freezing to death.
    To hell with the chickens; I wanted my shop back...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You were the best of all of us, Georgie! Pity about the shop/chicken coop.

      Delete

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