Possumhaw: Finding a quiet shelter



Shannon Bardwell



"When all else fails, cleaning house is the perfect antidote to most of life's ills."


-- Sue Grafton, author of the "alphabet series" detective novels




The coronavirus has given a whole new meaning to spring cleaning. It's not just washing your hands umpteen times a day, wiping countertops with Clorox solutions, cleaning door knobs, phones and any shared items with Wet Wipes. We have plenty of time and no excuses for not cleaning our spaces. Spring cleaning usually entails not only regular daily or weekly cleaning, but deep-down scrubbing. It includes areas you may only do after winter has come to a close. That's the kind of cleaning the Bardwells have attempted whiling away these extra home days.


Starting with Sam, pressure-washing the metal roofs seemed like a terrible idea -- ladders, water, slick metal roofs, heights, hoses whipped around by a gasoline motor. Nothing good could come of this. I tried all my reasoning skills: This is the worst time to get on a slick roof. Imagine killing yourself, or maiming your body, or going to the ER at a time like this.


All to no avail. Sam suggested my helping by handing the sprayer back and forth as he moved down the line. I, on the other hand, wished I had taken that course on "How to Stop the Bleeding." Was it head up or feet up? Google says head injuries are head and shoulders slightly elevated. For bleeding parts apply firm pressure to the wound with sterile gauze or a clean cloth. Watch for changes in breathing and alertness. Most common injuries from a fall include head injuries, hip fractures, back and spinal cord injuries, shoulder injuries, sprains and fractures. Age more than height was a factor.


Sam finished his job, was back on terra firma. The roofs were freed from dust, dirt, pollen and oak worms. Sam continued pressure-washing porches and well-house. Then it was my turn to clean.


A blogger I follow at "Inspired by Nikki" has dozens of how-to-clean videos. The videos are ethereal, wordless, with classical music. Nikki dresses in lovely outfits, as is her style. She dons an apron and begins to clean. Nikki makes cleaning look elegant and desirable.


Another blogger, Jennifer L. Scott, always recommends dressing "presentable" no matter the day's activities. Jennifer also wears an apron while cleaning. And come to think of it, so did Aunt Bea. My apron said, "He didn't marry me for my cooking." I tied it on. I played "Relaxing Pachelbel," noticing one of the titles was "Quiet Shelter." How appropriate.


While Sam went fishing, I scrubbed the porch furniture. The cedar Adirondack chairs renewed their bright red color. The bamboo end tables were freshened. The pillows and rugs were spritzed with water and tossed into the dryer. The vases and bowls were gathered up and washed in soapy water. The cats, Wilhelmina and Harry, observed from the porch rail.


The cleaning was work but at the same time satisfying. The finished product was a joy. Finding our quiet shelter in the midst of a storm.



Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.


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