Sometimes when you are the youngest you get to help your Mom do something just because you fit in the spot where the problem is.  I must have been about seven years old when I had the privilege of cleaning up the mess of all messes.

Whenever we got a new puppy my mother was the one who had the job of house training  it just because she was home all day.  To make the job easier, and to keep track of the puppy better, we used a table leaf to barricade the doorway from the kitchen to the dining room and to the bathroom.  We humans just had to step over the twelve-inch obstacle.  A black dachshund puppy didn’t know how to jump it.

Shortly after we got Dee, I came home from school one day and could smell lemon when I went in the house.  I thought, “Oh, Mom baked.”  When I got to the dining room I just stood there looking at the remains of a whole lemon meringue pie underneath the dining room table, like someone had thrown it there on purpose.  There were pieces of the meringue in big chunks on the linoleum floor, there was the lemon curd filling hanging on the center, arm size, corkscrew turned spindle table leg and all over the floor, and the unbroken glass dish was upside down wedged against the leg, waiting for someone to rescue it.  Me!

I asked, “What happened?”

My mother was sitting in her green chair at the head of the kitchen table.  Luckily she had a great sense of humor. With a very matter of fact tone, she answered, “I wanted to show your father (who was in the living room) the best meringue I had ever made and I forgot to step over the table leaf.”

“Did you fall down?”

“No, just the pie.”

“Why is it still there?”

“So all you girls could see how perfectly it landed.”

I think I asked if I could eat some of it with a spoon and the answer was no.  After we laughed that someone couldn’t have made it land that way if they had tried, Mom got out two pancake flippers.  She scooped what she could reach off the floor.  I went under the table, got the pie plate, and put what I scooped into that.  Then the “fun” part had to be done.

Mom slid me a large pan of warm water with a dish rag in it.  I sat comfortably under the table and cleaned every individual crevice of that table leg until it wasn’t sticky anymore.

The next day she moved all the chairs away from the table and mopped the floor then made us another lemon meringue pie.

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