Courage at Twilight: Housecleaning

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On Saturday evenings in my childhood New Jersey home, Dad filled a bucket with warm soapy water, sank to his hands and knees, and scrubbed the kitchen’s linoleum floor.  I never felt the compulsion or even inclination to join him (but I worked hard in the yard).  I remember thinking his knees must be awfully sore.  Later, he purchased a carpet cleaner to clean the carpeted rooms himself.  The walls showed roller marks where Dad had patched and painted holes or stains on the walls.  He rubbed Murphy’s oil into the wood furniture, and vacuumed the carpets and rugs.  These helpful habits lasted long into Dad’s retirement.  But the day finally came, brought on by a knee transplant and age, that he could no longer descend to his hands and knees to scrub the tile floors.  The day came when Mom and Dad needed help cleaning the house.  That is when Ely started coming.  She comes every Monday morning with her smile and her cleaning supplies.  Mom and Dad love her, are happy to have her in their home, and are relieved at how clean Ely makes everything for them.  In addition, Dad calls Stanley Steamer to steam clean the carpets.  But Dad still breaks out the carpet cleaner to spot clean the trouble spots and wear paths and food spills from the most recent family party.

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