Jaime's cryptic post a week ago or so got me musing all week long. Dirt is such a prickly subject - is it bad for you? Good for you? We all know how important it is to all of us. If you would have known me, oh, 15 years ago, you would have found me vacuuming, dusting and sweeping with alarming regularity. And I was living in a tiny one bedroom apartment with two cats. Of course, I was also living in the City, which is incredibly dirty (in a baaaa-d way), so it was an uphill battle. Now I live in the country with little between me and all that dirt out there - but it's dirt in a gooooo-d way. I am lucky, I think, that my mother did not constantly try to sanitize us when we were kids. Not that she'd even have gotten close. Lord, were we dirt magnets! My early childhood reminds me of having dogs. She'd feed us our breakfast, we'd do our required chores for our 25 cents allowance, then she'd open the door and we'd tear-ass outside. We'd be gone until she or one of the other mothers hollered "Lunch!" We'd straggle in and wash our hands, inhale our sandwiches, and out we'd go again until dinner. Other than our hands, the rest of us looked like we'd been dipped in dirt. And I was proud of it, by cracky. We did get away with more at lunch time - but had to spiff up a bit more for dinner.
One particular episode that comes to mind was when I was in my "secret mole" phase. I had snuck out to the big field and standing line of trees about a quarter mile behind our development every day for a week. I had carefully chosen my spot and had dug quite a nice hidey-hole, camouflaged with moss, grass and sticks. The day I tried it on for size, it had rained. I fit quite snugly and, when I emerged, I was encased in mud. Figuring I'd better let it dry, then try to peel it off before I went home, I joined up with two neighbor boys who were inadequately impressed by my muddy-ness. So, as we walked down the dirt road parallel to our development, I made up the game - "who-is-fastest-and-can-pick-the-most-wild-blackberries". I won -- but, in the process of out-running and out-jumping them, I leaped into a nest of old barbed wire. Being the tough cookie I was, I did.not.cry. As a matter of fact, the lacerations down my shins and trails of blood caused quite the impression with my pals. So I sauntered ever so nonchalantly home with my awe-struck companions, went into the kitchen and said, "Hi Mom." There was a scream, broken plates and a quick call to my uncle, the vet. Then there was a tetanus shot - which did make me cry - and a painful, stinging bath.
Good heavens! How I have digressed! Now that I've horrified you, made you glad you didn't have me for a child, or put you to sleep, I'll get back to my point. While I do try and keep most of the dirt at bay, and I do ever-so-occasionally dust, I don't wash my hands every five seconds. I don't wash everything I eat. And - except for this gluten thing - I am as healthy as a horse. I feel that too much sanitation can kill any chance we have of building up immunity to bugs, germs and the like. I wash my hands when it counts - like after I've cleaned up the field of battle after a mouse massacre. Ack.