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Things sure are smelling better

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By W.B. Evans

Here we go again. It’s been a whole week since Easter and the great-grands are still begging me to hide the eggs, one more time.
Fortunately, somebody invented plastic eggs. The mess of real chicken-produced eggs from the coop in the back yard that came to life thanks to Mama’s boiling and dyeing efforts are a thing of the past.
As a child, my enjoyment of the egg-hunting didn’t last this long.
Mama started the spring cleaning right after Easter.
And this year, she was taking it serious, especially in the living room, which still carried remnants of a cracked glass Christmas tree ornament and a squished Easter egg.
Shucks, I even came across a petrified jelly bean overlooked from Easter past and a nest of green artificial grass. But for some reason, there wasn’t any loose change in sight. Someone had already found and spent that.
The part I really dreaded was rolling up the big old rugs and hauling them out to the clothesline. They were hung out in the sun to air and beaten with  a broom to knock out the dirt from a year’s worth of foot traffic.
There weren’t enough mats to go around. Mama made do in some of the rooms by putting newspapers down.
I glanced through the headlines from the previous year as I spread them out. Nothing like a year’s full of history right under your feet.
Ceilings were 12-feet-high in most rooms, except the living room which had been remodeled down to a more sensible height of 10 feet.
I tied one of Daddy’s old undershirts to a straw broom to get rid of those pesky, high-corner cobwebs that spiders had spun since the last spring cleaning.
While I was swatting the spider webs, Mama was collecting all the glass bric-a-brac and gimcracks for a good scrubbing. They were washed in a solution of vinegar and soapy water and left to air dry.
Our annual spring-cleaning ritual wasn’t a one-day affair and there was no way for me to get out of it.
I was summoned again after Aunt Bess and Mama spied the accumulated dirt and dust on the white wooden house siding under our porch roof.
“You know what to do,” Mama said.
I got a pail  of water, can on Bon Ami powder and a wet rag and went to work. After a good scrubbing I rinsed the whole thing not to leave a dirty streak. Mama inspected my word to make sure it was up to snuff.
I was glad we had solid glass windows, instead all of those little window panes. It sure made spring cleaning easier.
By late afternoon on the second day, the rugs, fresh newspaper and shiny glass knickknacks were back in place.
Things sure did smell better. Clean rooms have a wonderful fresh odor.
All of us were glad spring cleaning was over for another year.
Well, maybe not.
On the morning of the third day, I was aroused from what I figured was a much-deserved deep sleep.
It was Mama.
“Son, get the porch chairs and lawn furniture out of the plunder house,” she said. “Wash ’em up and put ’em where they belong.”
I was still about half asleep and just too tired to put up much of a fuss.
So much for sleeping in. You know, a young fella’s work is never done in a house controlled by grown women.
By dinner time, I had completed my outside work. The weather was pleasant and ripe for a game of baseball down at the Chesterfield Avenue ball field. I was about to slip off in that direction until my Mama asked the one question that every child dreads.
“Son, have you taken a good look at your messy room?”
Mighty Casey had struck out before he ever picked up the bat. There goes the afternoon ball game for me, I thought.
I found some clothes still in Christmas wrapping paper. In my desk drawer was a bunch of BBs which had escaped from their round tube. Now, they were rolling all over the place. What a mess.
I was getting things slowly organized until I ran across a stack of neglected funny books confiscated from a load of scrap paper found along my collection route.
I got so engrossed in Superman and Captain Marvel that I really don’t remember much more about that day. Thankfully, I had muddled my way through another spring cleaning no worse for the wear and tear.
Years later, things changed when Aunt Bess bought a new Hoover. Happy times were here; the days of rug beating on a wire clothesline were over.
That long-handled Hoover sure made cleaning the cobwebs spun on the molding around the ceilings a lot easier.
Things were beginning to brighten up. It appeared to me that technology was about to knock a day off of spring cleaning.
I turned around to find Mama standing behind me with her arms crossed. “Son, have you taken a good look at your messy room?” she asked.
Here we go again.