If you are a highbrow, you have idiosyncrasies. The rest of us have quirks.

Perhaps your first instinct is to deny this. If that is the case, you should look again with a more objective eye. Better still, ask an outspoken friend. We guaranty that he or she (probably she) will not hesitate to speak their mind. In fact, they will happily share their opinions in the form of a verbal sledgehammer because that is their quirk.

Members of our immediate family refer to this writer as the Cleaner. Were this a thriller or murder mystery, then the Cleaner arrives on the scene after the spilling of a considerable amount of blood has occurred. The offshoot of such blood-letting results in blood, gore, and mangled bodies littering the scene of the crime. The Cleaner makes it all disappear as if it never happened. Of course, the formerly live people know it happened, but they are beyond caring.

From the family’s perspective, the Cleaner pops up whenever a smudge appears on a kitchen surface. Cups disappear into the dishwasher whether you finished drinking your beverage or not. If you put a dish or utensil down for longer than a couple of seconds, the Cleaner snaps it up and wipes the invisible-to-everyone-but-her smudge the object might have left behind.

The family consensus is the Cleaner needs to relax. A little schmutz will not hurt anyone. Just ask Hubby. When he was a tiny tot on the farm, he ate dirt with a small spoon he found buried in the yard.

It is fortunate his mother was a practical person because the kid had a strong inclination to get grubby and still does. His formerly white T-shirts can attest to that.

A cartoon was a partial inspiration for this column. It shows a group of chickens meeting up, presumably to go out on the town. But there is a glitch in their plans. One of the cluckers has a carton of eggs clasped under its wing and explains, “I couldn’t find a sitter.”

Perhaps the hen should have done what our son accused this writer of doing. “Everywhere Mom goes, she leaves cartons of eggs. Kind of like the chickens.”

His assessment is partially correct. When meeting with friends, we ask “Do you need any eggs?” In some cases, we do not have time to ask. But things usually turn out well. So far.

Sometimes, when meeting a friend for lunch, a carton of eggs just happens to be in the car. At some point in the conversation, the words spill forth. “I brought you a gift.” Naturally, it is at least a dozen eggs. Thus far, the recipients have been gracious when accepting the free cackleberries (eggs).

Our son’s concerns received validation at a funeral we recently attended. We extended our condolences to the family. Then in the next breath, we whispered, “We brought you some eggs.” To which the gracious lady replied, “Okay, just leave the box in the back of the church. We will pick it up after the graveside service.”

Sure hope she did not forget the eggs. Otherwise, the pastor was in for a mighty big surprise. Hope he likes eggs.

All in all, when we take a break from egg gathering duty, we do worry. What if pretty soon, no one will want to meet with us for lunch because of our gifts? But, that is a problem for another day. Today, three dozen more eggs need a home.

In our part of Texas, the excessive rains affected the chickens. At least, the process of collecting their eggs.

There is ankle-deep mud around the chicken coop and to a lesser degree in the chickens’ yard. Since the cluckers do not wipe their feet when getting in the nests, they get mud on the eggshells. Is there a bright side to this mud-caked situation?

Wait. Did someone mention dirt and mud? Yes. And the Cleaner leaps into action. To the entertainment of her family, wearing disposable gloves, she spends considerable time scrubbing the eggs.


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