Here we go ’round the mulberry bush

Posted on January 6, 2012

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We have had quite a rash of fluffing up lately.  The historic Torch Lake Inn has a new coat of paint and some interesting interior renovations.  We will explore those another day, but isn’t that heartening?

The Whites’ barn, munched on by weather dragons during a snowier December in 2008, was repaired right smartly at the time, though with more attention to function than cosmetics.  As I drove by the other day I was nearly blinded.

The White barn is white!  Freshly so.  And still a favorite of the birds.

It’s getting embarrassing.  Miss Sadie, the Cowboy and I are united in our resolve. We are going to do a better job of keeping the Writing Studio and Bait Shop up to snuff. Since we always work better with an organizing principle in place, and since we are fond of stories, we went looking for the words to Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush—the little ditty that laid out the week’s housekeeping tasks day by day. We have to start somewhere, and that’s as good a place as any. The song’s instructions begin on Monday, of course, so there was the temptation to put off the project until Monday, but after some discussion we agreed that emergency measures were called for and we decided to plunge right in on today’s assignment.  This is Friday. This is the day we will sweep the floors.

People who think Friday lets a person off lightly are people who do not keep spaniels.

Here is the whole list, as Chuck Hinman remembers it anyway,* and it sounds familiar to me:

  • Monday: This is the day we wash our clothes, wash our clothes, wash our clothes – this is the day we wash our clothes so early Monday morning . . .
  • Tuesday: This is the day we iron our clothes . . .
  • Wednesday: This is the day we scrub the floor . . .
  • Thursday: This is the day we mend our clothes . . .
  • Friday: This is the day we sweep our floors . . .
  • Saturday: This is the day we bake our bread . . .
  • Sunday: This is the day we go to church . . .

Not that we sang this song at Gram and Grampa’s farm each week as we went about washing and ironing and scrubbing and mending, no indeed.  But I have heard it sung.  Now that I examine it, I wonder about the missing chores.  What is the day we chop the wood?  Plant the peas?  Bale the hay?  And what about all the tasks that have to be done every blessed day, over and over again?  Ah well.  This train of thought can quickly descend into a pit of despond.

This is the day we sweep the floors.  Then we are going for a nice walk.  Perhaps we will buy bread along the way, leaving Saturday free for adventure.

*I found Chuck Hinman’s reminiscence both engaging and thought-provoking.  The whole Columbia Magazine (Adair County, Kentucky) site intrigued me.  There was a photo of a reunion of Civil War veterans.  Union Civil War veterans.  I have a secret dream of an Antrim Magazine that would be like that but different . . . but I pulled myself together.  This is the day we sweep our floors.  Now!  While the Cowboy is down on the beach admiring his own reflection.

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