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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Once in a Blue Moon (01/06/11)

TITLE: Why in the World
By Janice Cartwright


At our house Ďtrue grití is whatís on the dishes after our dishwasher gets through with them. Right after I stack, I baptize them thoroughly. They look clean to me. But my husband is a germ freak and insists they go through the dishwasher. Weíve tried Ďbrandsí and additives and vinegar, but they donít help much. A new dishwasher isnít in the budget (so thatís out), and neither is an expensive pump filter.

There is an upside, though. Ever so often, maybe once a year, glasses, plates and tableware come out sparkling, bright and grit-free. My husband says, ďAha. See there.Ē

But my quandary isnít about sandpaper dishes on a day to day basis, rather why there is any exception at all to the ordinary. I think a household almost as mysterious as the universe.

Since the missing sock theme has been much examined, Iíll try not to spend too much time there. But I have these socks: about five pair. Theyíre white, light-weight, comfortable, and my favorites. Iím trying to remember how many times when after the fourth pair got used up I was able to find more than one (of said socks) in my drawer. In the two years IĎve owned them, I think a few.

On those rare occasions I rejoice so much more than a sane person would think appropriate. If I could leap I would. But my body probably would be too out of whack. Have you ever tried bending way over, sticking your head in a clothes dryer, then twisting around like a pretzel to see if the missing sock is lodged anywhere inside? Have a good grip on something solid if you do this.

And then there are pet odds. Or maybe I should say oddities. I have a cat: her name is Minnie. Unlike most cats Minnie actually comes when I call her. A good estimate would be 99 times out of 100.

But once in a big while she does the strangest thing. She comesÖ almost. Within a yard or so of where I sit, she stops. She stares at me with her big, beautiful eyes. I call again, ďCome to Mommy, Minner.Ē At this enticement she rolls to her back and stretches out like a sunbather at the seashore. Or she sits down and starts to clean her toes. No amount of coaxing after that makes a smidgen of difference to Minnie. If I try to fetch her, sheíll dart out of reach like Iím the cat eater.

Again the mind-bender isnít, why doesnít my cat behave like your normal Ďtake a numberí cat, rather why on earth did God wire her to resemble one about once in an earth age?

The kicker though is my mother and the gift thing. Since as far back as I can remember Iíve wanted to give my mom a gift she didnít give back. I used to dread gift time. I would sweat and wrack my brain. Iím talking about more than 40 years of gift giving.

I have given her, for example: pot plants; perfume, jewelry, and sweaters; scented soaps and popular cosmetics; lace-trimmed sheets with matching blanket. Not one passed muster.

Now you have to know my mother. Not many would guess she snubbed her gift. But her kids know. We just know.

Iím going to tell you this and I lie not. I have pleased her. Twice. Long ago when my own kids were small we went to a garage sale. On the way home we stopped by Momís to show our finds. Along with some other items, I purchased for a couple bucks a black iron trivet with grape leaves painted on top.

Not intending it for a gift, I asked if she liked it. Mother latched onto my trivet. After I recovered, I was ecstatic. I loved seeing it there on her kitchen wall.

The second and only other ípleaserí occurred years later. I procrastinated, for obvious reasons, a Motherís Day gift. At least I had sense to pray. On the way to Momís apartment, I ran by the Dollar Store, grabbed a plaster Boy and Girl statuette set. Maybe she can use these on her patio. But I didnít have much hope.

Not only did Mother fall in love with them, she insisted they were too sweet to go outside. She stood the pair on her drop-leaf table with the fancy gold cloth, ďÖwhere I can sit and look at them.Ē

Only Heaven knows.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Theresa Santy 01/14/11
Amusing, delightful sense of humor, and a clever choice of words. I can so relate to the dishwasher drama, as well as the others. As for the mother gift situation, may I suggest gift cards?
Theresa Santy 01/14/11
Oh yes, and the missing socks! So funny. They're alive you know. And they can fly -- saw one with my own eyes.
diana kay01/17/11
thank you :-) you have packed a great deal of information into the word count. congratulations
Sarah Heywood01/19/11
This was an enjoyable read and I was sitting, nodding my head, with every new topic - I can totally relate to them all, even the one about having a mom who gives back your gifts! Great writing!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/20/11
I could relate to almost everything you said. I have an unusual cat too she loves water. She has even jumped into the tub with me. Go figure. I liked how you sprinkled your story with humor that everyone can relate to. Congratulations on placing 10th in level 3!
Janice Fitzpatrick05/12/11
Oh Janice, it is such a joy to see your writing again. I use to look forward to reading your lighthearted and often "speak to the heart" pieces dear. I just came across this today or I would have commented long before this. I really enjoyed your entry and I am sure so many of us can relate.
I know with everything happening in your life right now it is hard to sometimes share on here but please keep these little jewels coming. They're like little shiny stones that we find along life's pathway, and they give a glimmer of hope and beauty to those who happen upon them. Love ya hon! HUGS!