Spring clean-up day --- during which more than 500 high school students fan out across town in well-organized and carefully supervised groups to do good deeds --- is one of the great things about living in Chariton. This annual event is a joint project of the school district, Chariton Area Chamber/Main Street and the city.
Here's the hardest-working crew in town, or so we thought at the historical society Wednesday morning. They are (from left) Marissa Birkenholz, Skyler Stroud, Rose Murphy and Dylan Porter. These guys went to work at 8:30 a.m. and worked straight through until noon, then headed off to the old armory for lunch. They were accompanied by a school staffer. Kay Brown, Bob Ulrich and Jim Secor were on hand to provide some direction and work alongside. Skyler and Dylan were part of the crew at the museum last May, too --- so for them, this was a return engagement.
The guys began by helping Kay spread mulch and do other necessary tasks in the museum gardens while everyone else gathered in the barn to sweep it out, scrub the tables, dust chairs and benches --- and buggies, wash windows and complete other tasks needed to get it back into shape after being closed for the winter.
From there, our clean-up crew moved to the blacksmith shop, then to the Swanson Gallery, filled with vintage farm equipment. Otterbein Church got swept and dusted, too. Windows in various places were washed --- and the Heirloom Garden was hoed.
It was a great morning and we appreciated their help very much.
There was only one major mishap and, sadly, I was responsible for that. Our pioneer log cabin plays host to mice during the winter --- it is a log cabin, after all. Three of these unfortunate critters had managed to fall off a shelf into a 10-gallon stone jar resting on the floor, and passed there to their final mousy rewards. Dana, our regular cleaner, had declined to dislodge and remove the remains.
I had the bright idea of carrying the big jar outside and disposing of the corpses there. Unfortunately, I dropped the jar, on concrete, and it broke into three large pieces. Oops. That's the bad news. The good news: Kay was on hand to incorporate the remains of the jar decoratively into a border.