Dusting up the memories

Published 6:28 pm Friday, August 2, 2013

The older I get, the less I enjoy housework.

These days, it’s more of a chore than a necessary pleasure. And, the most worrisome chore is dusting – stooping, bending, reaching, stretching, climbing, picking up and putting back down.

The bookshelves in the “knotty” den stretch the length of one wall and stand taller than I can reach. They are filled with hundreds of dust catchers and, if care is given to each one, it takes the better part of my Saturday morning.

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To pass the time, I’ve “took to talking,” as my granny would say to the loved ones in the photographs as I move about my chore. Most days, I talk times with Mama or Daddy, my grandmothers and other family members who are no longer with us.

I don’t often dust the dining room table. I’ve found that it’s a good place to leave messages in the dust and make shopping lists or do a little “figuring.” But the other day, I decided to dust it.

Now, the table is large. It will sit eight uncomfortably; eight chairs to dust and table legs that are kept apart by cross beams that are low to the floor. That means assuming the crawling position.

Crawling on all fours can possibly be done gracefully. I do not crawl gracefully. And, the leg kick movement that I had to do to get across the crossbeam was semi-spasmodic. When my leg came down on the other side of the beam, it did so with a thud. And, it was in a cramped position along with my toes that kind of splayed apart. That hurt.

My body rolled over the beam and caught up with my right leg. The left leg refused to follow. There, I was with lying on the floor with my left leg stubbornly lagging behind.

Then, the strangest thing happened. From out of nowhere, I saw my Uncle Willie’s little bird legs under the table with me. They were clothed in chartreuse shorts that Daddy always said were so bright that he’d have to put a washpot over them so the sun could rise. And there were red stretchy socks crammed in saddle shoes.

That was a picture that I had seen many times as a child. Uncle Willie was a dirt road sport and he wore all that “get up” just to irritate Daddy. That’s what Mama said.

When Uncle Willie, Aunt Eleanor and Mugi came to Sunday dinner, they would sit around the table and talk after they finished eating. I would crawl under the table to play. I could hear their voices and their laughter. And I felt so at-home under the table.

It was good to be there with Uncle Willie once again. Dusting wasn’t so bad after all.

If only someone was there to help me out from under that big ol’ table.