Washing the Car

Each February in the Ozarks we have at least one day of bright sunshine when the temp nips at 70 degrees. It happens every year, and each year we all wonder at the extraordinarily warm day and think what a rare occurrence. Yet, it happens every year. Every year. Mother Nature teases us with a hint of what’s to come in spring.

Those days make us head outdoors. Here we walk the yard and notice how many trees have buds already and marvel that the jonquils are already up a good six inches. Again, nothing new in this. We do it every year. It’s as predictable as the groundhog seeing his shadow.

On this year’s rare 70-degree day, I had our 18-month-old grandson, Jagger, for a few hours. Since I’m mostly feeling overwhelmed with article deadlines and schoolwork now that I’m a coed again (Quit laughing. Going to graduate school at my age does make me feel younger.), I wanted to get some chores done that would entertain him. Our house is not childproof, and that little tyke will not stand still to watch me read and take notes, so I have to be alert and with him at all times.

First, we made Jim a birthday coconut cream pie. Of course, with my pie-making abilities, I used a frozen piecrust, instant pudding as the filling (Jagger and I had to add milk and stir), and Cool Whip as the topping. I managed to toast the coconut for the garnish, and the pie looked magnificent. Jagger licked the spoons, and I could tell by the way he looked at the finished product that he’d like to dig into it, so I put it on a high shelf in the refrigerator.

I think little ones like my Jagger are sprinkled in our life to let us observe the world again, a fresh glimpse of life through their eyes full of wonder.1

With the pie success, I then decided to take to the great outdoors to wash the winter sludge off my car. Driving through the carwash wasn’t going to get that car clean. It needed rags and elbow grease. What kid wouldn’t love helping with that?

Big mistake!

2I’d wring out a rag for him, get my own ready and at lightning speed wipe off an area, turn back to him, and he was dipping his rag in the dishpan again, dripping water everywhere, but especially on his shoes and jeans.

It didn’t help that the connection between the hose and the sprayer leaked. In jig time, we were both soaked. I let him have at it in his own way, while I quickly sprayed off what soap was on the car. That 70 degrees was without factoring in the wind that sprang up once we were wet.

When Jim returned from running errands, he found a half-washed car, me in my robe and Jagger in my tee-shirt, our clothes in the dryer.

At least it wasn’t hard to get a tired boy down for his nap. And after he awoke and went home, Jim and I enjoyed that ‘rare’ warm February day with a long walk.

3I think those warm February days are sprinkled in each year to give us hope that winter will be over and renewing spring sunshine will be the norm instead of gray overcast skies. I can’t imagine living where we didn’t get the hope that changing seasons bring us. By summer, I’m looking forward to fall’s sweater weather, then I look forward to watching winter’s first snow.

And right now on the first of March, it’s still winter, and I’m looking toward spring, but right now I’d better go throw another log on the fire and get some homework done.