Chuck Terrill: On cleaning hubcaps

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

I received more comments than usual about my essay last week. My wife said, “You always exaggerate. There were only 80 potatoes for you to wash, not 100!” Maybe so. It was, nevertheless, a bunch of potatoes to me!

Men said, “Way to go! I think I would do the same thing. Good thinking!” One man told me, “I did the laundry one time and threw in a pair of red socks, on purpose. Everything turned pink! She hasn't asked me to do the laundry since!”


Women said, “I don't know how your wife puts up with you, bless her little heart.” I don't know how she does it either, but she has done a good job of it for 47 years, now.

My 6-year-old granddaughter, who likes to read my articles, said, “Grandma, my grandpa is a real knucklehead, isn't he?”

I am grounded from the dishwasher, forever. It wasn't because of the potatoes I washed. The dishwasher is off limits because of the 1963 Impala I mentioned in the last short story.

I built the car from the frame up. It came out of a barn in Iowa. I have a personal relationship with every nut and bolt, because I replaced them all. The motor has been rebuilt, and so has the transmission. I installed it all. I even put in new windows and installed a new interior. I rolled back the speedometer to 0 miles. The car is beautiful, like brand new, only better.

But our water here is hard well water. Every time I ever washed that car, there were water spots, everywhere! Washing the car doesn't take long, because I won't let it get very dirty. But drying the car is another story! And once the car is dry, I have to polish off all of those water spots. It takes a good amount of time.

One day I was polishing the car, and I was in a hurry. I thought that I could get done much quicker if I allowed my wife's state of the art dishwasher to take care of the hubcaps while I polished the rest of the car. It takes just a second to pop them off with a screw driver. So, I did.

The hubcaps on a 1963 Impala are stainless steel and have an intricate pattern. They take a lot of time to polish. I knew that our dishes came out of the washer virtually spot free. I was going to save a lot of time.

I was surprised when I opened the dishwasher and pulled out a gleaming hubcap. I wasn't surprised because it was clean, but because it was still covered with spots. I yelled at Mary, in the other room, “What do you do to keep the spots off the dishes in the dishwasher?”

She yelled back, “Put some Jet Dry in the little bin in the door!” Obviously, she thought I was doing a load of dishes. I wasn't.

I ran the hubcaps through the dishwasher again. I used the Jet Dry as she instructed.

When supper time rolled around, Mary went to get the plates out of the dishwasher, and there were my hubcaps sitting right next to her dishes.

“No,” I said. “I don't want to eat my supper off a hubcap, so I will come and get them out of your dishwasher.”

I grabbed those hubcaps and hurried out to put them back on my car while she finished setting the table. Those hubcaps were gleaming! Not a spot on them anywhere! They really were clean enough to eat on, but I didn't want to give Mary that satisfaction.

Now, I am grounded from the dishwasher. Forever. She won't even let me put my coffee cup in there.

It's too bad, too. I am going to miss you, Jet Dry.

Chuck Terrill, who has doctorates from Master Theological Seminary and Trinity Seminary, is the senior minister at First Christian Church in Cassville. He may be reached at 471-847-2460.