It’ll Wash

By Shauna Smith Duty
Web Exclusive

muddy little boyMost moms think that rainy days mean having to come up with indoor projects for their kids, like the ever-popular toilet paper roll bunny or a nifty water bottle piggy bank. I think it’s because, on the whole, moms like clean kids. They don’t want their precious little angel in the photo frame on the wall to look like Huck Finn. Well, my motto is, “It’ll wash.” Whether it’s kids, clothes, or a dirty mouth, everything comes clean with a little soap.

It was Saturday morning, about 10 a.m., and I was in my robe, pouring another cup of coffee when my son came barreling in. Breathless, he managed, “Mom we got any bacon?” As I began to explain that this was a cereal morning and I had no intention of cooking bacon, I scanned his dirty little frame and reminded myself, it’ll wash. My eyes panned down his body: uncombed hair, un-brushed teeth, no shirt, baggy, wet shorts, and two yellow galoshes full – yes, full – of water. I realized, it must be raining.

I stopped mid sentence and suspiciously cocked my head to the side. Eyebrows raised and tone lowered, I asked, “Why would you want bacon?” As if I didn’t know.

He scowled at my feigned ignorance. “Crawdads like it. I need a string and a stick, too,” he blurted, presenting a spool of red thread from my sewing box and a wet stick. At this point I had two options. I could say ‘no’ and go check my email, or as any mother easily guilted by Father Time would do, I could think about how he would only be seven once, and soon he’d be asking for a twenty and the car keys. I could save my ‘no’ for then. I pulled a slimy slice of bacon from the crisper, handed it to my son, and inspected my greasy hands. It’ll wash. He was very pleased to find me so accommodating.

Just about that time, my eight-year-old daughter came sloshing in with our soggy black puppy following her. There she stood in all her glory, an orange bikini on her lanky frame and a pink gingham umbrella overhead. “Got the bacon?” she inquired as the puppy shook himself dry in my living room. Watching them I was thankful that I couldn’t afford new carpet. It’ll wash.

“Got it!” he announced. As if on a mission of utmost importance, they trailed out the front door for a shot at catching the big one. My son will be a great fisherman one day – or a great stretcher of the truth. Same thing? He swears we have crawdads twice the size of Maine lobsters in our drainage ditch.
This has to be better than email, I thought, and decided to take my coffee to the front porch. I relaxed back into my chair and cold water bubbled up from the cushion onto my backside. It’ll wash.

The boys looked like warriors in the Amazon, slinking under the driveways and grouped together grunting and pointing under rocks. The girls looked more like southern belles at the Battle of the Bulge, watching the action from a safe distance.

One very familiar aborigine broke loose from the tribe, brandishing a snapping crustacean. He darted into the girls’ lawn party holding the snapping creature in front of him and laughing uncontrollably. Umbrellas flying, the scantily clad darlings ran for their lives, slipping and fumbling over each other to escape the monstrous crawdad and the muddy lawn. Their frilly pastel umbrellas were doused in thick, oozing mud, and their little bodies were slathered with it, too. It’ll wash. I smiled. They screamed as only little girls can, and shouted threats at the roguish boy, now insane with pleasure at his accomplishment. His father would be proud.

When the shrill screams and nasty threats were over, I decided my husband must be awake – along with everyone else for three square blocks – and the climax of this show was over. It would end as the many episodes before it had ended, with me in a pile of wet clothes in the laundry room, chanting my motto and wishing I were one of the moms who believed in clean kids.

Shauna Smith Duty is the author of many domestic humor articles and two romance novels. Her short inspirational plays are free of charge for non-profit organizations at www.shaunasmithduty.com.