A million things I should be doing and I'm sitting here washing a rag-doll's face.
She's not just any rag doll, of course--she's the three-foot-tall Raggedy Ann I made for my daughter around 25 years ago, but poor lonely Raggedy Ann has sat in a little red rocking chair in the corner of the basement fun room gathering dust since my daughter grew out of playing with dolls.
Now that particular corner of the basement has over the years collected a hodgepodge of stuff too inconsequential to keep close by but too sentimentally valuable to throw away--old trophies, children's art projects, knick-knacks collected in our travels, and, of course, Raggedy Ann. Looming over that corner, though, and threatening to take over the known universe is my husband's collection of very tall and spiny cacti, frequently decorated with cobwebs and providing a welcoming environment for various types of bugs (and, once, a small bird).
I don't clean that area often because the cacti hate me and manage to insert spines in my fingers no matter how carefully I attempt to avoid them. This coming weekend, though, we'll be hosting an onslaught of in-laws as it's our turn to host the annual Hogue Ohio cousins' reunion, which means I'll be doing some deep cleaning and prep work every day, so down I went to the basement fun room to dust and vacuum and clean windows.
Did I mention that the cacti sit right up next to the big French windows?
So I ended up with a few cactus spines in my fingers, but as I was cleaning, my eye fell on that little red rocking chair. "That's just the right size for my granddaughter," I thought. "I should take it upstairs and clean it up, but then where would Raggedy Ann sit?"
Stupid question. I took the chair and the doll upstairs and gave them both a thorough cleaning, washing Raggedy Ann's clothes and giving her a thorough sponge-bath. (In case you ever need to clean a large rag doll that can't go into the laundry lest her bright red yarn hair turn everything pink, here's the secret: Oxy-Clean.) I even got out needle and thread to fix the loose threads hanging off of Raggedy Ann's nose. She's not perfect--in fact, she's just a little raggedy--but you look at that bright red hair and big broad smile and the little embroidered heart on her chest that says "I love you" and you can't help smiling right back.
My whole house, in fact, is just a little raggedy despite all my efforts to fix and patch and clean it up, but when all those cousins come this weekend I hope they can look past our flaws when they see our big crazy hair, beaming smiles, and open arms that say "I love you." There isn't enough red thread and Oxy-Clean on the planet to prevent us from being the Raggedy Hogues, but I hope they will enjoy our home anyway.
Extra-credit trivia question: The title of this post is a slightly altered quote from an obscure piece written by a long-dead Ohio humorist associated with my favorite magazine. Bonus points to anyone who identifies the author! Super-extra bonus points if you can identify the context of the quote!