64 fl. oz. Miracle Bubbles

The weather in Michigan this weekend was spectacular, warm but not too hot, cool but not too cold. I spent as much time outside as I could, doing manly things that involved an array of outdoor tools; shovels and rakes and brooms and axes, all the while sporting several days of unshaven stubble, old dirty jeans and a t-shirt, broken down leather work boots and gloves. A heavy flannel shirt was added in the evenings when the newly found Spring temperatures gave way to pleasant cool air that felt more like Fall. The peepers and other critters in the swamp behind our property sang spiritedly the whole weekend.

Part of Saturday’s workload, was cleaning out one of my barns, the one filled mostly with lawn equipment and outdoor tools and a diverse assortment of everything else you could imagine that needs a place to be stored. It was dirty work and over the recent long, cold Michigan winter, it had become a disorganized mess of shit piled everywhere that I could barely walk through without risking a certain trip to the emergency room.

It felt good to clean it out, to make space, to put tools back where they belonged, to throw stuff away. That’s probably the closest place I have to a man-cave, although there’s no television, no couch, no sports memorabilia, no cooler full of beer. But it is a place where I can go and tinker around and have a little solitude. The extent of the decorations dressing up the few rustic timbers that aren’t covered with tools hanging from rusty, bent nails; a dirty, old, yet still proud American flag that once flew from our house, a wall of our old Michigan and Massachusetts license plates, a stop sign that I picked up some time ago, and a KIMBERLY TERRACE street sign that my wife was given back when she was a teenager… acquired, I’m sure legally, of course!

I worked through the clutter, throwing away old spark plug packages, empty oil containers, cans of dried paint, pieces and parts of stuff that I didn’t recognize and figured if I have no idea what it is or where it came from, it must not be that important. Tools were sorted into tool boxes, screws and nails and bolts and nuts and washers were relegated to a recycled coffee can to be reused at another time. I learned long ago to never toss away a perfectly good fastener. The floor was swept of dirt and grime and oil and hay. I pulled a couple of old mowers out, stripped of their parts like abandoned cars on an urban freeway, and dragged them to the road along with a FREE FOR PARTS OR SCRAP sign, handwritten in black marker on a scrap piece of board.

Then I came across this:

bubblesIt was dirty and covered in spider webs and had been sitting in this same spot for who knows how many years. I picked the jug up secretly hoping it was empty so I could quickly toss it into the ever-growing trash bag. It felt full and I unscrewed the cap and looked inside to see about 2/3 of the container was still filled with the soapy bubble mixture that has given kids endless delight for decades. Without giving it a second thought, I started carrying the jug to the far back part of our property where I could dump out its contents, then dispose of the packaging in the trash.

But as I walked, I felt this profound pang of a loss of innocence… and frankly, more than a little sadness. Shovels and axes and several days of unshaven stubble and old dirty jeans and a t-shirt and broken down leather work boots and gloves… had been instantly trumped by a container of dish soap disguised as MIRACLE BUBBLES!

I thought of my two kids, surely who we had purchased this giant 64 fl. oz. jug of MIRACLE BUBBLES for many years ago. Neither of whom, I surmised, now grown up, knew or cared that it existed anymore. My daughter will be a senior in high school next year, and my son a freshman, the first time since elementary school that they’ll be in the same school again. I stopped for a minute, unscrewed the cap again, pulled out the MIRACLE WAND and watched as the warm spring breeze sent oily, rainbow tinted bubbles flying through the air. I dipped the wand three of four more times and watched as more bubbles soared through the air only to disappear in the blink of an eye the moment they landed on the grass or a log pile or the branch of a tree.

I questioned my decision to dump out the container.

Then it occurred to me that experts often recommend using dish soap if you are trying to get a new tire to seal to a rim while filling it with air. I dropped the wand back into the container, screwed the cap back on and turned around and headed back towards the barn where I set the jug back down where I had found it, still covered in dirt and grime and spider webs.

Because I learned long ago to always be prepared and who knows the next time I’ll need to seal a new tire to the rim of my mower or lawn tractor.

That’s why I kept the bubbles…


Okay, maybe not…



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16 responses to “64 fl. oz. Miracle Bubbles

  1. I’ve got that tankard of Miracle Bubbles in our garage as well. And the task of cleaning up the winter garage is before me. It’s odd going through the detritus of our lives. When you have kids, everything is a swap out for something bigger – the bikes, the skates, all the less-than-regulation size soccer balls. Still, so glad that spring has finally arrived – was up to my ears in dirt this weekend and happy as all the larks I hear.

  2. No photo of you running, childlike in your rugged jeans and flannel shirt, trailing a string of bubbles in your glee? A missed opportunity. You might have been Legend.

  3. Your writing always takes me away….like a bubble on the wind. Good stuff as always, Steve! I’m feeling so many pangs of sadness over watching my kids grow at lightning speed. This summer I plan on spending all my waking moments with them. Well, until they start driving me crazy…

    • Awww… thanks! They do drive you nuts sometimes don’t they? But enjoy every minute that they’re not driving you nuts! We’ve started using the C word in our house………………… college!! Yikes!

  4. You never know what will “get” you. I love bubbles and would have trouble dumping it too. When my son and I were clearing several years of overgrowth yesterday, one of the things I was weeding was an old kiddie pool I had repurposed as a lettuce garden about five years ago. As I grabbed a 6″ thick clump of moss, a very large mouse jumped out and scampered off. When I lifted the moss up, I exposed a nest with 4 young brown furry babies. I had scared momma off. Because the plastic was crumbling, it had to go. I grabbed up the entire nest and moved it. The babies crawled out and I don’t think they made it. Every now and then, for the rest of the evening, we saw momma mouse looking for her babies. Even though I have no problem trapping mice in my house, and putting out poison for them in the garage, I feel badly that we basically killed those babies. Those cute, little, furry critters.

  5. This was lovely, gentle and so true. Both my girls moved half the country away last summer and I can barely open the door to their rooms. Why does time go so fast?

  6. Containers of bubbles don’t last long at my house. My daughter and her friends seem obsessed with pouring out the contents. I’m not sure why.

  7. A sweet post.
    Years ago, I used to carry a bottle of bubble solution (smaller variety) with me in the car. When stuck in L.A. traffic, and those around me were getting grumpy, I found that a stream of bubbles could wring a few grateful smiles. (As in “That sweet girl over there blowing bubbles. She’s too simple-minded to understand we’re trapped in traffic.” : )

  8. Don’t discount those kids yet. I bet they would love to play with those bubbles. I find that late teens tend to enjoy what I call “early-onset nostalgia.”

  9. Hey- yeah- I found you again!

    Okay, this is your old blogger pal, Sandi, from Ahhsome. I’m also one of your Facebook friends.

    Now that my kids are older, bascially, I’m not allowed to use the site where I told everything…well, I still will tell, just more annonomously from a new site.
    As you might recall, probably not, I’ve been working for the last 2 years and kind of not on the blogging world. In fact, it was right around the time you decided to take a break from your Brown Road Chronicles.

    When I returned with a new site, I found it very difficult to come across my old pals because I couldn’t figure out how to search by a blog name and many I couldn’t recall anyway. (Yes, I could look at my old blog, but I can’t recall password to get in and too lazy… well, really, I just don’t want to be tempted to use the old account. Promised the kiddos. In fact, I need to go delete it – and just haven’t brought myself to do that.)

    So, I have been trying to find good blogs… and the content out there (yikes)-I really was going to give up and came across Thoughts Appear, and then saw you too! YEAH! I’m finding my way back… Sunday is a GOOD day. So, my new nickname is


    P.S. My recent post, does not pertain to any of my old blogger pals that can tell a good story like this! I just found some old bubbles the other day TOO. We had a bubble machine- so fun. I played with while my kids (now 9 and 11) stared at me.

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