Siblings Sentenced to Scrub Down

Pam and Nene

Pam and Nene; Click to enlarge

These images are copied from a poster that Mother had on her bulletin board when she died.  I copied it just as it was, with the scripture verse that was attached to them.  Pictures of my brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews surrounded these.  Yes, the Payne”s were blessed, because their “quiver was full…of children”!

Nene and I were teenagers at the same time.  We shared friends, activities, dates, and clothes.  We spent a lot of time together, and were each others best friend.  We are still very close friends.  Where one was, the other was close by.

Mother and Daddy had gone to visit prospective members of our church.  Nene and I were left to clean up the dishes after supper. 

We were clearing the table when one of us, I don’t remember who, started a food fight.  We had mashed potatoes everywhere, including the ceiling.  It was a good ole’  hilarious time!  I grabbed the mop and tried to erase the signs of our mischievousness from the ceiling.  The heating system in our house was a coal furnace.  Coal dust settles on every surface, and particularly the ceiling.  Each time I brushed the mop against the ceiling, it left a clean path among the dust. 

Nene and I didn’t think things through.  We thought it would be fun to play tic-tac-toe on the kitchen ceiling.  We had our fun chasing each other around the house and giggling, like girls do.  The dishes did get washed, dried, and put away, and the floor swept and mopped. 

Mother and Daddy arrived home.  We didn’t think a thing about them noticing our art work on the ceiling, but it was the first thing they saw when they entered the kitchen door.  Wouldn’t you just know it!

“Jeaneane!  Pamela!  Get in here.”  Daddy wasn’t pleased or amused.  “What is this?”  he inquired, as he pointed to the ceiling.  His brow was furrowed and his lips tight.  Mother had her hands on her hips.  We knew Doomsday had arrived!  “It’s tic-tac-toe.  There was a spot on the ceiling.  I was trying to clean it up.  NENE decided it would be fun to play tic-tac-toe.”  I prayed they would buy my story.  “YOU started it!”  Nene screamed in her own defense.

“Well, since you both think this is so cute, and you were so eager to clean the ceiling, tomorrow you can wash down the entire kitchen and bathroom.”  Mother pronounced the sentence.

Morning came.  Mother had our buckets and washcloths ready.  We washed the kitchen from ceiling to floor, then we moved to the bathroom.  Continuing our game of tic-tac-toe wasn’t the least bit appealing in the light of day. 

The bathroom was a small space.  True to form, we turned work into play as we slapped wet rags on each other’s faces.  “Let’s break out of this place, Blackie.”  Nene whispered.  “Okay, Whitie.” I snorted.  Several hours and giggles later, we washed our way out of the bathroom.

Why did I share this story with you?  There are morals to this story.

1. Stick to the job at hand.

2. Finish every project that you start.

3. Take responsibility for the part you play in any mess.

4. There’s humor in every situation

We didn’t play games on the ceiling again, that’s for sure.  We have laughed many times about it since. 

You know, humor is the best way to attack any hard task.  It gets done faster, and doesn’t seem like work at all.  I have a sneaking suspicion that Mother and Daddy already knew this.

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2 Comments on “Siblings Sentenced to Scrub Down”


  1. I always love reading stories about your wonderful family. That quiver-full of kids must have made for quite a houseful too–one filled with laughter, fun, love and, yes, the occasional game of tic-tack-toe on the ceiling.

  2. madc Says:

    Lol, wow love it! “There’s humor in every situation”
    I try to live that way every day:)


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