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I’ve been witness to a lot of scrubbing up lately. Just before my family and I went to France two weeks ago, I watched hospital personnel scrub up as they prepared to take out my husband’s appendix. They must have done a good job because there was no infection as we traipsed through beautiful castles and gardens in the Loire Valley. Apparently, taking out an appendix is akin to pulling a tooth these days.

My stepfather, Richard, wasn’t so lucky. The day of the trip my mother witnessed more scrubbing up in the emergency room as the doctor examined her husband and declared he could not go to France under any circumstances. A kidney stone, lodged in his innards, was to blame. My mother’s tears were “scrubbed up” and, at Richard’s insistence, she left for France that night.

Once on French soil, we rented cars to travel to Chateau du Pin. While driving there we almost had to stop due to a torrential rain storm. Our cars were thoroughly “scrubbed.” We arrived tired, but clean, at the chateau. Family members, who had arrived earlier, greeted us with a toast through the large open dining room window.

Speaking of windows, one couple in our party decided to open a chateau bedroom window our first night, despite the sign on it that said, “Do not open this window. It is broken.” A few days later we had to scrub up their bedroom floor as yet another storm came roaring in, creating a large puddle of water and blasting out two huge window panes (chateau windows can be quite large) from the open broken window. Did I mention it wasn’t supposed to be open? Fortunately, with only one more day to go at the chateau, there were no more reasons to “scrub up.”

After our week at the chateau, most of our party took the train to Paris. The city was beautiful. The buildings had been or were in the process of being scrubbed up. The grime was gone and the people were friendly. The golden turrets and statues must have been recently gilded as they shone out in the bright sun. My mother was amazed. What a difference from her last trip to Paris in 1956.

My husband and I arrived home August 1st. Being in the mood to scrub up, I took a bucket of soapy water, a scrub brush and my plastic gloves to church this morning. I wiped away seventeen years worth of grime from my daughter’s gravestone.  Her stone isn’t the Louvre or Notre Dame, but it’s symbolic of a beautiful life. She spoke perfect French, just like her brother who is teaching in Paris. She was the gild in our life and shines on…just like her scrubbed gravestone and the scrubbed buildings in France. C’est la vie.