Every Saturday at our house was house cleaning and yard duty day. My mom - the Drill Sergeant- would give us all a list of things to do inside the house and when we were finished we were supposed to go outside and help our father in the yard.
I didn't like doing either. I thought I had been born into the wrong family and was Royalty. I waited years for the Queen of England or any titled person to come and get me out of my suburban neighborhood. The Queen must have lost the directions I sent to Buckingham Palace. I told my mother I couldn't have dishpan hands when they came to get me. I had to be presentable and would rather practice taking tea and eating crumpets on Saturdays. Instead I had to wipe the coffee cake crumbs off the table and throw away the Lipton Tea bags resting in the saucers.
My house jobs consisted of cleaning my room - and cleaning my room - and cleaning my room. Then after I cleaned my room - and if it wasn't Sunday already - I was supposed to empty all the trash cans in the house and put away all the canned goods in the pantry. One time I took all the labels off the canned goods. I thought it would be fun to guess which can was Campbell's Mushroom Soup and which can was Hormel Chili. We ate some strange combinations for a while after that. I always pretended to love the mystery meals, but I never took the labels off again. Especially after we had sardines, canned asparagus spears and waffles for dinner one night. Not everything tastes good on a waffle. I know that to be a fact. Trust me on that one.
One particular Saturday I rushed through cleaning my room which meant that I threw everything into the closet and slammed the door shut. I promised one of my sister's all of my allowance if she would take care of the rest. I took out all the trash and tossed the canned goods in the cupboard faster than a grocery store clerk could do it. Then I went back to my room to check on my sister to make sure she wasn't slacking off and to order her around because it was fun. I was showing my royal side to her. I also needed to get dressed to go outside and help my dad. I put on my best party dress which happened to be a granny gown with an appliqued rooster on the chest and some patent leather Mary Jane's and my best white frilly dress socks. I added some short white gloves, glanced in the mirror with approval and pranced outside. I sat on a large rock with my hands folded in my lap and watched as my dad sweat buckets while he raked the leaves in the yard. He glanced up after a few short minutes, wiped the sweat from his eyes and said, "What the hell do you think you're doing?" I answered, "Waiting for the Queen." My dad stared at me for a moment and said, "Good. We could use some more help around here. Let me know when she gets here and in the meantime make yourself useful and go get me a beer."
. . . the end.