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Try a little elbow grease

Shining windows was a routine cleaning task in our home when I was growing up. It was a simple but monotonous job. First, I sprayed the windows with a vinegar and water solution and then used newspaper to dry the glass to perfection. I recall one particular window that refused to co-operate. I squirted more water. I increased the size of my newspaper wad but the streaks and specks remained.

“Use elbow grease,” Mom suggested.

That began my search for this particular cleaning product. I found shoe polish, laundry detergent, stain remover and toilet cleaner but there wasn’t a trace of elbow grease. I removed all the contents from the cabinet but it had vanished.

I checked out Dad’s workshop. I knew he greased machinery and I thought it was a logical place to hunt. I discovered containers of used oil, antifreeze and purple gas but there wasn’t any sign of this specialty cleaning product.

Discouraged and defeated, I sought out Mom.

“I can’t find it and I looked everywhere,” I said.

“What are you looking for?” she asked. Then her lips curled upward as she contained her laughter. Little did I know that it accompanied me all along.

Now as I clean windows, buff bedposts, polish door frames, and shine my own home, I smile when I encounter stubborn streaks and marks. My toddlers and I combat spiderwebs with new vigour. Cheers ring out as we capture dust bunnies under beds and behind furniture. Yes, we have truly discovered the secret of elbow grease.

– Sheila Braun writes from Landmark, Manitoba

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