Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sister Sandy in Rich City, Ga. had a problem many parents face in the summer.
Her youngest son, Preston, 8, decided the saltwater pool in his backyard had enough chlorine that he needed no baths for the summer.
“I get clean in the pool,” he told his mother, who was trying to spiff the kid up for when her ex picked him up for a lavish vacation.
She had no trouble getting her teen to take showers. With Preston, nothing worked.
Then a wild idea zapped her.
“Everybody get in the golf cart. Wear your swim trunks,” she said, loading up her boys and entering one of those explosive washes where one can choose from a variety of cleaning, buffing and waxing options.
Sandy entered the stall, paid her $12 for the Super Soaker, Peel-the-Rubber-off-the-Tires wash with a wax job even duck feathers can’t match.
They slowly pulled up but nothing happened. The message flashed. “Back up! Back up!”
“This golf cart doesn’t weigh enough,” she told her boys. “Stand up and let’s jump up and down to get some weight on this thing so we can get our Wash and Wax.”
They did as told, to no avail. Sandy ate that $12 and decided to go across the street to the eight-bay, do-it-yourself wash.
“We were ready for our hot high pressure, touchless car wash. No brushes. Just a blasting with these jets,” she said.
“It may take the skin off your butts, but you’ll get a good bath,” she told her boys. “I can’t send you to your father smelling like our two dogs.”
She couldn’t stop laughing. I heard the boys squealing in the background when she called to report her latest outrageous behavior. Nothing had topped this since she spent $200 on a possum fur coat and wore it by the pool in her bikini, glass of champagne in her hand.
In the bay, she cranked the wand, the gun, and other apparatuses and proceeded to “bathe” her boys. Preston, being light of weight, nearly blew into the road. The soap sprayed, the gun blasted, then Sandy told them to work the lather in their hair as if it were a bottle of Pert Plus.
“You wouldn’t believe how clean they got,” she said. “Their hair had never smelled better. All we needed was some Armor All for their nails and one of those pine-scented things you put on the rearview mirror for their wrists.”
I called Mama that night to tell her about Sandy’s latest bathing routine. She was not amused.
“But Mama, don’t you recall Daddy sudsing by the pool every summer at out house?” She remained silent. The memories of my father, after swimming his laps, surfaced, and I recalled him with the hose in hand, a cake of soap and his triple-blade plastic razor on the table nearby.
He’d shampoo his hair, shave, take the soap to every part of his body, including the insides of his trunks, rinse, and be done.
“We ain’t right,” Sandy said. “Let’s just face it.”
Susan Reinhardt is the author of the newly released “Dishing with the Kitchen Virgin,” and the bestselling, “Not Tonight Honey Wait ‘Til I’m a Size 6.” She also penned “Don’t Sleep with a Bubba. Previously with Ethan Ellenberg, she is now at the Waxman Agency in NY,

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