Saturday, August 17, 2013

Running My Mop

SLIM BUTTES - Company coming, I'm looking around, seeing all kinds of things that need to be done. For the casual visitor, I used to tell people when they'd come over, "I didn't bother to clean house for you - I live like this."

Knock down the cobwebs. Shake out the rugs. Straighten up the place. Better grab that mop.

Every time I handle a mop, I can't help but be put in the mind of Mr. Ferguson, you remember Mr. Ferguson, who used to talk like that, and say unforgettable things like, "They ain't nuddin you can tell me about a mop that I don't already know."

When 'running his mop', he'd constantly be running his mouth as well, talking family mop history, mop jargon, and mop technique; 'Yeahhhhhhh, this moppin' run in my blood,' he'd say. 'My daddy was a mop man in the navy, my granddaddy a mop man na correctional hospital, and his daddy before him mopped for a old folkses home in deep south Mississippi.'

'So what I'm saying is, it run in my blood, like, when I take hold of a mop hannel, it feel like it belong there.'

Now, tell me, how can you forget things like that?

'Me and this mop go waaaaaaaaay back,' he'd say. 'I run dust mop, wet mop, dry mop, wax mop and floor vac. I run push broom, squeegee, sponge mop and bamble mop. When it come to mops, I run it. Seen all type of mop bucket. Slide, glide, tiptoe, ease, and on my knees. Have my floors so clean you can eat off 'em.'

And it's true. You could eat off Mr. Ferguson's floors. People would say, 'Damn! You could eat off these floors!' but Mr. Ferguson would dismiss the remark, having heard it a thousand times. Floors you could eat off of were his standard. 'I feeds the spirits off these floors,' he'd sometimes say.

Better leave those shoes at the door. He'd make you feel uncomfortably guilty for walking across his floors, asking loud and accusatory, 'WHO da heathern bringing mud up in here on my floor?' 

Or he'd sit there ignoring the conversation and stare at your feet if you entered and sat down without removing your footwear, telling you, 'Here, lift your feet up. Lemme get under you...little bit of Mother Erf,' as he'd sweep up little crumbs of dirt you brought in.

Suspecting people derided his spotless floor obsession, Mr. Ferguson would sometimes say, 'Daddy a mop man, momma a cleaning lady. What you ekspeck?'

- end