A dear friend reminded me of how much fun doing housework can be. The following story is true from my past days growing up on the farm.
Our father was way too trusting. He believed that when he told his young daughters to do something simple like clean up the kitchen after dinner would be done without any issues. Wrong!
Dad loved to cook but hated to clean. This was fantastic for mom as she was just the opposite. With parents that handled these specific chores in such a manner, what were two mischievous daughters to do?
- Put leftover foods away.
- Do the dishes.
- Clean up the area.
Simple right? Nope. My sister and I are, even to this day, well known for never doing the simple ways. We usually do things in a round-about way or come up with a better way a couple of years after-the-fact. Cleaning up was perhaps where this whole issue started.
We had a very fun childhood, and our parents encouraged us every step of the way. This was maybe not such a good idea. Dad made dinner, which consisted of fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Our father came from a big family, so he consistently made too much for us to eat in one sitting. When he very innocently to clean up the kitchen, I don’t think he was even close to being prepared for our idea of “clean up.”
It all started out the right way, put the extra food into containers (Mom was very proud of her Tupperware) then put it into the fridge. Fill up the sinks with dishwater on one side and clean rinse water on the other. Put the dirty dishes (after emptying them) into the dishwater. One daughter washes and rinses, the other dries and puts the dishes away. Once again, very simple, right?
The whole concept came to a screeching halt when my younger sister decided that mashed potatoes were a lot like clay or playdough (we had lots of arts and crafts stuff – mom’s idea to turn us into creative wizzes). Yep – it molded into a ball beautifully when cupped in 7-year old hands.
It was only a matter of time before we were tossing it back and forth like you would with a ball in a game of catch. Our game of catch turned into dodge ball. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but somehow one of our throws ended up on the ceiling. – WOW – MASHED POTATOES STICK TO THE CEILING!
We got so squirrely excited and made the mistake of giggling. Dad finally noticed our noises and called out from the living room (his after-dinner routine: Nightly news from his comfy recliner.),
“What are you two doing?”
To which we so innocently replied: “Nothing.” We calmed down, and he did not bother to come to check on us. Awesome!
LET THE STICKING BEGIN.
- Scoop up a nice hand full of mashed potatoes.
- Roll them around in your hands until they form a smooth tight consistency.
- Locate an easy-to-fling spot on the floor with a clear aim to the ceiling.
- Squat down a bit with your hand holding the potato ball hanging between your knees.
- Tighten your shoulder and flex your arm muscles to get an intense action.
- Then let-er-go!
OUTSTANDING! The balls of mashed potatoes stuck on the ceiling. The downside – not for very long. We found that when we flung them up there, they would stick, but due to the butter used in making them, they slowly eeked loose from the ceiling and fell to the floor. Then the next game became trying to catch them when they fall.
After about an hour of this (personally, I just think the news was over and he finally really heard us), dad decided to get up and see just what we were up to.
We were having so much fun that we never noticed just how many mashed potato balls were on the ceiling or floor, nor did we have any dishes done. On our behalf, the food was all put away (except the game ball goo), and the kitchen was clean – for the most part.
Dad stepped through the arch and into the kitchen just in time to see us both throwing up our next ball. He screeched out a: “WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?”, making both of us jump to attention and immediately stop laughing.
He proceeded to reprimand us and give us follow-up instructions to get things back in order. We heard none of it. We both caught the fact that there was a stuck ball on the ceiling just above his head, slowly preparing to fall. All we could do was stare at his face. I am sure he thought we were finally being good little girls and listening close to follow his every command. Nope, we were just waiting – quietly.
Then it happened.
The mashed potato ball above his head finally lost its grip and flopped right on top of his head.
It should be noted that our father was a stellar father. He never raised a hand to his children (that was mom’s job, and she was delighted to be the Executioner) and that in most circumstances, he acted more like a kid than we did. This, at first, was not one of those times. He never saw it coming even though he did see dozens of residual oil spots on the ceiling. It never dawned on him to look up before standing in a place.
We poor well-behaved children could not hold back any longer. The laughter exploded from us to the point of rolling around on the floor and holding tight to our little tummies that ached with laughter muscle overload.
Initially, dad was furious (you could see it in his eyes) but, either it was the fact that it caught him by surprise, or seeing us rolling on the floor in explosions of laughter, he also could not hold back his funny bone anymore. He burst out in laughter along with us.
Once we all calmed down a bit, he made sure we finished cleaning the rest of the kitchen up. The unfortunate mashed potatoes that had brought so much joy were dispensed to the critter bucket (all foods that we did not reuse were given to the critters unless it was compostable. The compostable foods went into the garden.) never to be flung again. So sad.
I don’t know how he did it, but after we went to bed, he managed to get all the greasy ball marks off the ceiling before mom got home. If he had not told her about our escapades, she would have never known. Personally, I think he was so proud of our ingenuity, that he was just bursting to tell someone. Mom just happened to be the first person he met.
Now that I have shared one of our most favored family memories feel free to try it with our own children. The world is full of scary stuff – why not throw in a few mashed potatoes.
You can also check me out at: https://lifelessonslived.com/ for all the fun things I have learned in life.
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