It was the second time through that did it. I’d found it once already, counted it up and gave it back. A day or two later, kneeling on the rug to sort and spray, there it was. Again.
“Finders? Keepers. Losers? Well, the other guys.” And like that, Rhonda’s Theory on Cash Found in Pockets When Laundering was drafted.
From other states, my friends chimed in. “At our house, it goes in the vacation jar,” someone, a cousin from Ohio, said.
“If I know whose jeans it came out of, I usually give it back. If I don’t know, I consider it my tip for doing laundry,” said someone else.
“I’ve done pretty good over the years,” added another friend, herself the mother of a passel of boys. I chuckled, thrilled to be understood, then threw in a little pat on the back for my efforts to raise a responsible child.
The protests were heard as far as Atlanta when the theory was announced to the owner of the jeans. There was, I noted, no chuckling at all and no pats on the back for my efforts to raise a responsible kid. Judging by his countenance, he was contemplating mutiny, but a quick glance at his father’s expression took the wind out of his sails, and he went back to his Cap’n Crunch.
Civil unrest was nothing new, not to this mother of four. In fact, I took it as a sign that I was doing my job if a theory (read “rule”) was unpopular. A foundational one that had been highly unpopular with our crowd went like this: “You live here, eat here, sleep here, you work here.”
Periodically, The Mister and I would lead the troops in this chant. Around the table we’d march, reciting the family mantra. The two in front (that would be us) oozed excitement; emitted positivity, joy and hope for the future while the stragglers in the back (that would be them) oozed something else entirely.
“She got a new tip for her whip.” That’s what one of them said over the phone to a grandmother one day. Sighing, I took it from him. “They think I’m the Original Egyptian Slave Driver,” I explained as she laughed into the receiver on the other end. “They’re looking to escape Egypt and head for Canaan.”
It was true. They were crafty, those kids. They’d heard the stories. Knowing of Canaan, they were convinced it wasn’t here, that this was Egypt and that the land of milk and honey lay outside our borders.