Visitors were coming!
I loved it when visitors came by, especially at Christmas. Our Mother let us help her clean up and get ready for the event. We all chipped in in quiet anticipation of the final moments of clean up as we each carried out our designated chore. My chore was always wiping things down. I couldn't reach the sink as I was too small. I couldn't wield the broom as it was too tall. I couldn't bake anything, or mix anything because I didn't know how not to cough or sneeze into it as I was always rather sickly. So, I decided to help by asking for a wet cloth, and proceeding to wipe everything down.
The house was a fury of movement with my Mother disappearing into the pantry every ten minutes to grab another item for the menu. Luckily, the Chinese man showed up at the back door with his van parked out in the alleyway full of groceries because my Mother had forgotten to buy pineapples earlier in the week when she went shopping. She always made pineapple upside down cake for those extra special occasions. I ran to get my Mother's purse for her and she paid him for the can of pineapples and the extra bag of flour she got just in case. I waved to him as he disappeared down the long hall to the back stairs, and watched him make his way across the backyard, stopping to wave at our neighbor. My Father yelled at me from the living room to shut the door and stop heating the outside!
I scampered back to my cloth and continued washing the cupboard doors. Our work was completed very fast with eight of us working like madmen to get completed. My older brothers and sisters were anxious to get finished so they could go off on their dates, and the middle ones wanted to go visit the neighbors before dinner. That was OK with me because then my youngest brother, youngest sister, and I could have the whole kitchen to ourselves for the final chore.
I anxiously waited for my Mother to put away her last bowl, cover her last item ready for the fridge and take off her apron before heading into the living room to wait with my Father for the guests to arrive. She nodded to us on her way out and we grabbed our rags and pried open the small tin of wax.
My oldest sister had just finished sweeping and mopping the floor and now we could wax it! I was so excited. The initial part was tedious but the final part was the most fun in the world.
We each took a corner; well the stove was in the other corner and we weren't going to bother with that, and when we finished applying the wax we took turns sliding across the floor to buff it shiny. I took the corner that ended in the Christmas Tree so that I could see the lights blurring as I landed underneath the table that held it just above my head. It was like having a snow hill in our kitchen. I used to laugh so hard that my sides would hurt by the time our Mother shooed us out of there with an indulgent smile on her face. We would always make her slide at least once before we ran off tired and happy, ready to clean ourselves up for dinner.