My sister and I were chatting on the phone when the subject of people not washing their hands came up.

My sister said, “Yeah. Water allergies.” 

We laughed and then reminisced about our mom chastising an adult cousin who lived with us about her not washing her hands enough. Our mom would not eat anything our cousin cooked, but my sister and I, as kids, liked some of the things our cousin cooked and risked eating them.

I told my sister about a little girl in a public bathroom who washed her hands and waited for her mom to come out of a stall. The mother exited the stall, and then stood in front of a mirror primping. The little girl said loudly, “Mommy, aren’t you going to wash your hands?” 

The mother looked at me, rather embarrassed, but did begin to wash her hands. In an effort to lessen her embarrassment I said, “Well, your little girl shows that you’ve done a good job teaching her the importance of washing one’s hands.” 

We laughed. What else could we do?.

My sister worked as a nurse, so of course, handwashing was/is important/necessary/vital.

I have worked in bacteriology labs, where again, handwashing was/is important/necessary/vital.

Water allergies were/are not allowed. Please note that there are articles in the news recently about the importance of washing one’s hands.

Peggy Tarr

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...