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Thinking Out Loud with Connie: Spring cleaning for a spotless house


Friday, April 11, 2014

Surely as the sun rises every morning, spring will arrive and I believe it is just round the proverbial corner. Believe it! Just yesterday while walking my dog; I spotted a white snow crocus in bloom. It was camouflaged next to the diminishing two foot icy snow bank. That certain proof along with the sun shining and birds chattering in the background was something to smile about.

The thought of springtime always produces nostalgic moments along with the awareness that it actually might be upon us. I love standing outside under the warm rays of sunshine breathing in the rich smell of freshly turned earth. That is the smell of possibilities; of new life and hope. I grew up on a farm just outside on the borough limits of Kutztown. Outside of the house, springtime meant it was time to prepare the fields for planting. Spread the manure, plow the fields, pick up the stones and harrow. Harrow...what a funny word, do the farmers still harrow? Anyway, there is a lot of preparation to make sure the dirt is a rich soil for planting the seeds to ensure a bountiful harvest in the fall.

Meanwhile, inside the house, this time of the year meant spring cleaning! This type of cleaning is not to be confused with the quick swipe of the dust cloth and swirl of the mop. We are talking about pull apart the bed, strip the sheets, lift up the mattress, flip it around-back to front, head to foot kind of flipping. Oh yeah, don’t forget to dust the bedrails too! Then, we can talk curtains – they all need to be washed and ironed or at the very least hung out on the line to flap around in the spring air. Let’s talk baseboards. To do a thorough job, one must get down on their knees and scrub every inch, even the inches behind the couch or davenport (you may know this as the sofa). Walls are wiped, rugs shampooed, wooden floors buffed, lights fixtures shined and furniture polished!

I promised myself when I became an adult, I would never ever use vinegar and newspaper to do windows. I felt like everyone could smell the vinegar on me for weeks and my hands were dried out and black from the newspaper. Is anyone relating to this springtime ritual? Once the house is freshened up top to bottom in this PA Dutch manner, you would have thought the house was going up for sale. I have to admit the house did smell good in a Pine Sol sort of way. This process sometimes took an entire week until all the rooms were scoured. It was a good feeling to know you wouldn’t have to do it again till...fall-but that’s another story.

Winter can be a bleak season and the promise of spring and the re-birth of the land is the perfect time to look inward to see what our heart looks like. Maybe it needs a spring cleaning too? Check and see over there in the dark recesses if there are any cobwebs of bitterness or unforgiveness. Maybe you have some guilt or condemnation that needs to be swept out. It’s a good time to air out your heart and let the sadness and depressed thoughts into the sunlight. Spring cleaning your heart is sure to put “spring” (excuse the pun) into your step. Spring also ushers in a time of celebration of faith with the Easter season. For centuries, the way of the cross continues to bring renewed hope for our lives. It is Christ who cultivates love in our hearts and plants seeds of hope. It is He who can cleanse our hearts from the sins of this world. If we have good soil, there will be a rich harvest of the fruit of His Spirit to share with others. Happy Cleaning!

Connie Schaeffer is a resident of Kutztown and enjoys reading, writing, but not arithmetic.