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Jay Speyerer
Writer _Speaker _Untrainer*

Award-winning author

"Pittsburgh's Mark Twain"

 

 

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July 2017
Reading time: 2 minutes maybe

 

There Was a Time...

DIRT, THEN AND NOW

by Jay Speyerer

One day back in the late 1950s, two of my neighbors up the street, John and Debbie, set up a lemonade stand. Their mom was hovering nearby, supervising the setup of the card table, change box, paper cups, and pitcher of goodness. And it was good lemonade. Sweet, tart, lots of ice cubes. I was around ten, and my friends were seven or eight.

I paid my dime and was nursing the cup, just hanging around. Then an older man – that geezer had to be at least 20 – bought a cup, drained it, and handed it back. John promptly dumped the ice cubes frugally back into the pitcher.

Nobody batted an eye. Not their mom, not the geezer, not even me. (My eyes noticed, but they didn't do any batting.) I think I remember their mother warning John not to do it again, but not much was made of it. Make no mistake, their mom was smart. I don't know if she went to college, but I always had that impression. She was a stay-at-home mom, but in those days, what mom wasn't?

Today, the health department would have dispatched black helicopters and, at the very least, dropped leaflets warning against the perils of bacteria.

But there was no big deal at the lemonade stand. Of course, back then kids' bodies were still brimming with antibodies after years of playing in the dirt all day long. Today, if a mother sees a couple of molecules of grime on little Noah and Ava, she gently relieves them of their tablet and phone and ushers the kids into a hermetically sealed clean room where they are unceremoniously air-blasted. Then they wash with anti-bacterial soap, which is why we have so many kids with allergies.

Certainly the kids today have bodies, substantial ones even, but I don't think their antibodies are what ours used to be. (I watch re-runs of House, M.D., so I'm up to speed.) My antibodies are herculean from years of wading through creeks in pursuit of salamanders and crayfish, running the woods looking for nothing in particular (got nipped on a finger by a chipmunk once and it only made me stronger), and I even tried digging a bomb shelter in my back yard. Dirty work, but I stopped at two feet when I hit a stratum of yellow-brown clay. I also stopped when I realized I had no plan what to do even if I was able to dig deep enough. Through all these feats, I never minded the dirt.

One of Erma Bombeck's best lines was "dust is a protective coating for furniture." That's how I felt about dirt. My mother disagreed, always marveling that potatoes weren't growing behind my ears. She didn't like dirt.

Good thing Mom never saw those used ice cubes being dumped back into the lemonade.

~end~

© 2017 by Jay Speyerer

I work with people who need to get out of the way of their own language so they can say what they really mean. If you would like to talk about bringing me in to work with your staff or to help you with your personal story, jump on over to the contact page.

If you would like to read more articles like this one, go to the Legacy Road store and look for the collected articles in my books Cat Got Your Thumb? and the newly released expanded edition of Cat Got Your Treadmill?

Now here's something for fellow cat aficianados: my new book, Home Cats2: Diary of a Mad Catter, is out now. Visit the store and see for yourself!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go ahead and use hand sanitizer. But where does the dirt go? Nowhere. It just stays there. But hey-- it's sanitized.


Quote of Note
My life, I realize suddenly, is July. Childhood is June, and old age is August, but here it is, July, and my life this year is July inside of July.
~ Rick Bass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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