Mom’s Place Mats and Fruit Salad


Mom never would have allowed her place mats to get dirty. As a matter of fact, Mom didn’t allow much of anything to get dirty without cleaning it right away.

I have many of her place mats, napkins, table cloths and linens now. I’m not the perfect housekeeper, though. Yesterday I noticed it was time to polish my dining room table. I think the last time I did it was four months ago. Before that, I didn’t own it, at least not the one I’m using in this house. I also own one of Mom’s dining tables, but it didn’t fit in the space or ambiance of my dining room here.

Anyway, I hate housecleaning in a lot of ways. The main reason I hate it is that I had a cleaning business for four years. That’s what brought on my osteoarthritis about 12 years too early. We cleaned houses for real estate agents. They were expensive homes with beautiful furniture or no furniture, depending on whether the house was going on the market or sitting empty before the new owners moved in usually.

Many of these upper class homes were also filthy. I’m not talking a little dirt here. I’m talking major grime, the kind that takes four hours just to clean one oven or three hours to clean a shower stall. I know you’re sitting there trying to imagine this type of dirt and how it could possibly take that long to clean one area. Trust me. I was there working alongside of the ladies I hired to help. In a shower like that, we had to take a single-edged razor blade to get the soap scum off. Yep. None of those products they advertise will remove scum instantly or after soaking a bit worked.

Want a real horror story? When we went to vacuum the very first house we cleaned, there were maggots in the carpet. Okay, you get the point.

Not all the houses were that dirty of course. But the back-, knee-, hip-, and hand-breaking work was enough to make me believe I deserve to have someone clean my house for the rest of my life. Right now that is not possible, but I intend to make it so!

Anyway, I noticed the beautiful flowery place mats were dirty. Heaven forbid. I wiped them off of course, but I never cleaned the little seam around the edge of these plastic beauties. So Mom, you would be proud to know I cleaned the place mats yesterday.

And then I made a fruit salad. Mom always got so excited by the fruits and vegetables of summer. She’d call me at some point every summer and say, “Eleanor, don’t you just love summer? The fruits and vegetables are so wonderful.”

I always agreed of course. I didn’t agree to be amenable. I agreed because I love them too

As I was making my fruit salad of bananas, blackberries, blueberries, pineapple and peaches, I thought of you, Mom.

One day we’ll share a heavenly ambrosia. I am looking forward to it.

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