A Bygone Age

Are chores a thing of a bygone age?

I teach in a junior high/ high school and I often have students tell me about their part-time “jobs” working in the mall or pumping gas or stocking shelves. But it doesn’t sound as if they are responsible for any household chores. No contribution to the functioning of the home.

Maybe I’m wrong.

Maybe they do.

When I was a kid chores were a big thing. I hated all of them and I know I grumped and complained when I had to do them.

My first memory of “cleaning” is washing the floor of the back porch of our old house. It was a dark green tile and I remember my little head brushing the bottoms of the coats that hung from the hooks on the wall. I’m pretty sure washing the floor was NOT a weekly task … come to think of it I’m pretty sure my mom was trying to get me out of her hair and gave me something to do so she sent me to the one room where “spotlessness” wasn’t mandatory.

Later on the housecleaning was divvied up between my sisters and I. We each had a bathroom then one took the vacuuming, another washing the kitchen floor, and horror upon horror, the one who chose the shortest stick took dusting…including baseboards. It seemed we were doomed to spend the ENTIRE Saturday confined to the house, scrub brushes in hand, smelling of disinfectant.

Then there was the garden. Mom and Dad did most of the planting and watering, but I remember many a summer afternoon weeding between the rows and thinning out the carrots. The dreaded day of the year occurred in the fall when we had to “clean out” the garden and haul all the vegetation to the bush. HARD LABOUR I tell you because our garden was forty million acres…or there about. Not to mention picking raspberries, digging potatoes, washing carrots, shelling peas…

Most summers Dad had us helping out around the farm. Mowing the lawn was actually quite fun, until the John Deer rider mower blew its engine and we had to mow using the push mower. We had so much lawn it would take all day. On hot days we’d take turns of thirty minutes each until the lawn was cut…usually at the setting of the sun.

And when we had dogs there was the “picking up of the poop.”

The worst job Dad had my sister Angela and I sweeping out steel grain bins, on scorching summer days. Can you say “two pot roasts in an oven”.

I’m pretty sure growing up with these chores helped build character and made me unafraid hard work. But I have to admit that the thought of housework makes me sigh heavily and that I’ve made the conscious decision to live in a condo where mowing lawns and shoveling walks are taken care of for me. But, I know what it’s like to have what seems like a monumental task before me, or a pile of responsibilities that at moments overwhelm and consume,

but I know that by diligently chipping away and not giving up usually leads to completion.

All will get done in good time.

And with it a sense of accomplishment.


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