Monday, October 26, 2015

Something As Simple As A Footprint In The Carpet...by Jim Terry

Ahhhh alas, another beginning of a holiday season is upon us with the first of four holidays in the next two months!  So I will say, “HAPPY HALLOWEEN,” since it falls on a day later this week…It always perplexes me how each day, as I grow older, seems to become but seconds, a month becomes but minutes and a year then turns out to be only a moment in time. For instance, it seems just like the other day when I was learning an influential lesson from my Mom about lying and vacuum patterns in the carpet.

Those of you who knew my Mom, knew of her love for life, her delight for adventure, her fondness for the holidays but most importantly her ability to run a tight ship and keep a house clean in spite of eight children.  There wasn’t an instance, when anyone at anytime could come to our home and visualize what most might think would exist with eight kids…a mess, clutter or untidiness. In spite of my Mother working, being a great Mom, an excellent seamstress and a remarkable wife to my Dad, there never really was a time I can remember that our home was in disarray.

We, as kids, all had our chore lists. One week you might have to do dishes every night after dinner. One week you would have to do the laundry. Another week you may have to clean the bathrooms, vacuum or take out the garbage.  We also had to make sure our beds were made every morning before leaving for school.  In our household, there was also one room in the house that was generally saved ONLY for special holiday occasions and “off limits” to enter without permission from my Mom…The formal dining room was the room that fits this definition. I can only imagine now, but I’m sure why my Mom didn’t want us in there was due to the fact that there were a lot of breakable and valuable things that she didn’t want to get ruined. Also if we stayed out of there, it was one less place for her to have to constantly clean.

I was always surprised by my Mother’s ability to know if we had gone into the “forbidden room” a.k.a. the dining room.  How could she know that I, or one of my siblings, had done this time and time again and always be right?  Did she have eyes in the back of her head? Was she psychic?  I even used some of my best stories over the years trying to justify the reason why I was in there but again, how could she know?  It wasn’t until later in life that she explained her secret to me…a footprint. 

 Have you ever had the type of carpet that when you vacuum it, it leaves patterns in the carpet?  I’m sure most of us have seen this at one time or another in our life.  The pattern that develops while vacuuming is similar to a “V” as you efficiently push the vacuum back and forth and to one side or the other.  All it would take for my Mom to know if we had gone against her wishes and entered this room is for one of us to step on the before mentioned vacuum pattern and leave a footprint.  I admittedly and undoubtedly lied time and time again about entering this room…it was just so “cool” for some reason to go in there.  So what I initially thought was rocket science or some sort of unearthly power my Mom held in knowing each time we went in there, simply turned out to be an observation of a kid sized footprint in a place where it should not be.

Just yesterday, I was cleaning my home so I can head home this coming weekend to participate in the annual Terry pumpkin carving contest still inspired and started by my Mom, but now kindly hosted by my sister Mary. So while vacuuming, I couldn’t help but to allow my mind to wander a time or two and think of my Mom, the formal dining room and the lesson she taught me while just a young boy…“a lie can be easily exposed and discovered by something as simple as a footprint in the carpet.” 

After reminiscing and completing my task of vacuuming,  I then took a moment, glanced around the room and once again witnessed the perfect “V” pattern in the carpet. I'm sure my Mom would be so proud of me to see she taught her son well and that I followed her example. And as sure as "old habits die hard," and because I am still that same young boy at heart, I went over to the perfectly vacuumed carpet and gently placed a footprint or two right in the middle of the perfect pattern…it was then, at that same moment, that I formed a gentle smile on my face, had a twinkle in my eye and then looked to the heavens above and said, “Lesson learned and YES Mom, it was me!” 


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