I was excited to schedule the spring maintenance of my Koi pond at the same time as my grandchildren were coming to spend some time with me. I made sure the girls knew they would need boots, as the area would be wet and messy. The ground water was still high leaving a sucking sound as we walked over the grass. The water was coated with a thick skin of algae. Decayed leaves, debris from melting snow and even empty bottles of wolf urine (used as a deterrent for predators) made the scene look neglected.
As the cleaning process began, my girls, (ages 6 and 4) decided they were hungry. They ran up to the house and were back in a moment with the happy meals that they had ordered. They spread their food out on a glass end table that had not been wiped off since last fall.
All their food was finger food so chicken nuggets were dipped in ranch dressing and mud, apple slices were dropped on wet leaves and brushed off, French fries were sorted in an attempt to determine which ones were clean enough to eat.
All of this was pushing hard on my neurotic need for things to be clean before you eat them and for your hands to be clean, as well. But, running up to the house to wash your hands was only a temporary solution as everything you touched down by the pond was contaminated (if you use the standard of a surgical sterile field).
I decided to let the girls enjoy their food and watch the pond workers.
Later, when their mother picked them up, I told her that I had lost the battle of keeping our dinner germ free. This mother calmly responded, “It’s clean dirt, Besta (Norwegian for Grandma). It rained last week!