saturdays.

Saturday mornings when I was growing up meant house work. Mom would put on the music and like Pavlov’s dog we’d get going. But instead of salivating for a treat, we were wound up for slave labor.

“Vacuum first, then dust!”, “Dust first, then vacuum!” To this day I’m unsure of Mom’s rule as it seemed, no matter which step I took, it was wrong.

If she found a poorly cleaned dish in the cupboard, my sister and I were tasked with emptying the cupboards and rewashing EVERYTHING! I later learned this tactic was used on my two older siblings. However, in the retelling of their story, they shared a secret. They would remove all the dishes, rewash a few of them, then re-stack the rest slightly different to give the illusion all the dishes had been cleaned. Robin and I were not that clever. We’d complain about Mom, bicker at each other and clean the stupid dishes.

Mom was a drill sergeant, but that probably wasn’t a bad thing because the smell of clean; ammonia, bleach and Pine Sol, bring a smile to my face.

The “Saturday-morning clean-up music”, as I called it, is actually Jazz. I prefer the pieces with lyrics, ’cause I like to sing along. It’s my favorite music and I’m pretty sure that is because the “Drill Sergeant” introduced it to me.

The drill sergeant gene isn’t in me. So the connection to Saturday mornings and cleaning doesn’t exist in my family. I think they laughed when I tried to introduce the concept.

Saturday mornings are still filled with the music as Jazz plays through our speakers. I also listen for the sound of my neighbor’s water fountain. I hear leaves rustle through the trees and there are barking dogs as well as noise from lawn mowers in the distance.

Brian usually makes coffee, and cuts up fruit for a salad. We sit at the table, reading news from our phones. I might prepare biscuits or bacon and eggs or potatoes or something that helps empty the fridge.

The floor isn’t mopped routinely, but when it is, there’s the smell of ammonia or pine sol, that makes everything alright.

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