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December 13th, 2012 by Temple City Tribune
My Mom had a storehouse of cliches. She often used them to teach me the lessons of life that she felt were important. Cleanliness was one of the things very important to her.
Mom always said, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” Well, in that regard, I’m afraid I’m not quite as close to God as I used to be. There was a time when you could move any piece of furniture in my house and it would be as clean behind it as in front of it. Now it’s not guaranteed.
Mom always said, “Her kitchen is so clean, you could eat off the floor.” There was also a time when that described mine to a T. Now it sometimes looks like someone has eaten off it.
Mom always said, “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.” Somewhere along the timeline of life, I discovered the feather duster. Maybe not exactly right, but things look pretty good. At first, it was a great way to handle the little in-between cleanings. Now my in-betweens have sometimes become the regular cleanings that they used to be between.
Mom always said, “Cut the mustard and get your work done first. There will be plenty of time left to play.” Yesterday I knew it was time to do it right. I cut the mustard. I got out the vacuum, the mop, the dust rag, the spray polish and went to work. I moved pictures, picked up knick-knacks and hauled furniture. I discovered dust that had been around long enough to form a real relationship with the surfaces upon which it lay. I polished and scrubbed ‘til everything was shiny and spotless.
I was next to Godliness. You could eat off my floor. I had done it right. I had cut the mustard, but there was no time left to play. It didn’t matter. I was exhausted.
Today, if I can move my body, I’m going to play first. But, old habits die hard. I’ll still do as Mom always said. I’ll “ put on clean underwear in case I’m in an accident.”