Posted by Marjorie Ainsborough Decker text© 2011 on May 22nd, 2012
Greetings Dear Blog-Nog Reader-Friends,
Today’s Christian Mother Goose version of the Rub-A-Dub-Dub old rhyme (1798), took on new meaning for me when I impetuously bid on 4,000 bars of soap. I was writing the Christian Mother Goose Treasury at the time, which included this particular rhyme.
The soap incident took place at the local Thursday night auction. To attend this weekly auction was pure entertainment, especially when the hilarious surprise items were filtered through the colorful repertoire of the auctioneer.
I often thought of the stark contrast between the hushed, solemn atmosphere of some English auctions I had attended, and those filled with the high-jinks frolic of our Western Colorado mountain town of Grand Junction.
While on a visit back home to England, I remember committing the unpardonable sin of crackling the cellophane wrapper of a mint candy during an estate auction there. (Not a very loud noise, you would agree.) Nevertheless, the auctioneer poised, shocked, with his gavel in mid-air, staring at my sister and me. In icy, condemning tones he breathed, “Ladies, please!”
Now, it was my turn to poise, with my half unwrapped mint in mid-air. And the dilemma? Should I crackle it closed again, or crackle it fully open? Either way, I was in trouble. So I opted to crackle it open, and popped the mint in my mouth to the suddenly popped eyes of the auctioneer. However, I did redeem myself a little with the dapper auctioneer by bidding on six antique silver dinner forks, which I have to this day!
The 4,000 bars of soap are a different story. As no one bid on them one particular Colorado night, I hastily raised my numbered auction paddle and, just as hastily, the auctioneer yelled “Sold! for four dollars and fifty cents!”
Now, I have learned that a bargain is not always a bargain, but can sometimes be a deceiver in alluring clothes if you don’t know what to do with it. It wasn’t as if they were souvenir bars of soap from the Queen of England. So I had to think quickly, before my puzzled husband and boys lined up before me saying, “Mom! Please?”
Then, in a flash, I had a marvelous idea. Why, I could be a soap philanthropist, and send the 4,000 bars to our missionary friend who had served faithfully on the Navajo Indian Reservation for many years. There were all kinds of needs down there. Surely, soap would be helpful. So, off went the soap on its destiny of clean hands and faces.
But, looking at my own boys, I knew such a destiny didn’t last long. From the “Rub-a-dub-dub” tub to the warm mud around our pond, it took barely fifteen minutes to undo the soap’s destiny.
Later in life, when Kevin and Keith were grown young men, they were running through a park and fell into a ditch. Covered in mud, they walked to a nearby drive-through car wash. Stepping into the line of cars, they paid the fee and with a car in front and one behind, they began to slowly walk through each stage. Stage 1 – they were drenched with soap. Stage 2 – they were clobbered with rotating giant, floppy mop straps. Stage 3 pounded them with a deluge of rinse water. And finally, stage 4 – powerful blowers blew Kevin and Keith dry and out of the exit, but still on their feet!
I felt confident that Navajo mothers had boys of similar sentiment and antics.
A few weeks after thanking us for “all that soap!” our friend sent another letter with some interesting news. Some of the Navajo families had taken to carving the soap into lovely soap sculptures. This innovative “cottage industry” helped increase their modest income, and was another artistic creation to add to the beautiful Indian artistry of Navajo blankets and unique pottery.
My hasty soap bid was a bargain blessing after all! And, might I mention: while writing this blog, I thought of my mother’s old ration book from World War II, when, along with everything else, even soap was strictly rationed in England.
So, I promptly left my desk and unearthed that old souvenir. Looking at the record of those war-torn years, I thought, “What a ‘soap star’ my mother would have been with 4,000 bars of soap to give away, free, without a ration coupon!” Ah, what memories!
It seems to me that soap and earthlings must have gone together since that fateful day when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. God’s perfect world had no stain until our first parents brought in sin and death through unbelief in God’s word to them. Regardless of when it happened, the evidence is all around us: earthlings and this earth are in desperate need of more than soap to cleanse, regenerate and refresh our lives.
King David, in Psalm 51:7, wrote: “…wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.” And in verse 10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” The beloved Apostle John wrote in Revelation 1:7, “Jesus Christ…Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood; and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever, Amen.”
May we all say, “Amen,” in thanksgiving for the miracle of salvation brought and bought for us by the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. For, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” (First John 4: 9 )
Hallelujah! God has brought us home, forgiven, washed and accepted by faith in His Beloved Son!
Till next time, God bless you and keep you.
Christian Mother Goose®
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