"It is not against the law to wash more than one load of clothes," I said to my nephew.

"It is not against the law to wash more than one load of clothes," I said to my nephew.

I was standing in the middle of the room with fists on my hips, taking a respite from doing laundry and cleaning closets for my nephew Allen, who we affectionately call Porky.

I spent most of the day on Saturday sorting through the girls' closet, matching the blouses with pants and skirts and making sure the clothes still fit Heather and Raqueal.

Raqueal, who is 9, has been going through a growing spurt of late, but 6-year-old Heather is about the same size she was a year ago.

Their 27-year-old father, who is one of the sweetest natured people I have ever known, is fairly new to being a full-time parent.

He and his wife split up three or four years ago and he was never allowed to see his three children more than four days a month, until last September. Several incidents occurred which prompted him to take the children from their mother.

After 11 months, the court determined that he will be the residential parent, but he and his ex-wife will have shared parenting.

So for the past year he has played the role of "Mr. Mom."

He works all day, while the children are in school or staying with their grandmother, comes home from a logging business to cook their dinner, clean the house, wash the clothes, read to them and tuck them in bed.

I don't know how many times I have walked into their home, located on my farm in southeastern Ohio, to find Porky vacuuming the living room, scrubbing the kitchen floor on his hands and knees or pouring vanilla into a teapot to make the house smell nice.

"I really don't like plain tablecloths," he said to me a couple of months ago. "I think lace gives a home that special touch."

I whirled around and looked at my lean, short-statured, muscle-bound nephew who was wearing a pair of jeans covered in grime and diesel fuel with the wide-eyed expression of a nag being spurred in the sides.

As I burst in wheezing fits of laughter, he looked confused for a moment. Then he realized why I was laughing and joined me.

His life has changed dramatically, and for the better.

Last weekend as I helped get the children ready for the start of the school year, I pulled what was once a pink blouse out of the closet. Examining it carefully, I could not decide if it is now brown, green or purple.

That was what prompted me to scold the young man I helped rear from birth.

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"You throw jeans, towels, pink blouses and white underwear all in the same load, and you wonder why the colors change?" I asked.

"I wash everything on cold," he said.

I rolled my eyes.

"Pinks and reds still fade," I said. "Pinks and reds go together on cold, jeans go together on warm or cold, towels may be washed on cold, warm or hot, and whites get washed with hot water. But all of those should be in separate loads."

He looked a little sheepish, making me feel guilty.

"Tell you what, I will sort the clothes this time," I said, "and you pay attention."

As bossy as I am, he appreciates it when I arrive and volunteer to clean the kids' closets, wash the laundry, rearrange the kitchen cupboards or take Raqueal shopping for bras.

The truth of the matter is he needs a good woman.

Something foreign to his nature.

"The next time you drag a woman into this place, she goes before the screening committee," I said.

The entire family is in agreement.

Pork has not dated much. He married right out of high school, and that was a disaster.

The only good thing to come out of that relationship was three beautiful babies.

He dated another woman after that, causing my hackles to rise.

I knew she was better than his first choice, but I still had reservations.

The relationship was short lived, and he frequently describes her as "just a friend."

Then he dragged in the latest girlfriend.

Another eye roller.

It was enough to make me suggest he go back to the interim girlfriend.

When Pork and his latest girlfriend broke up recently, I was overjoyed.

"That's it," I said. "You have proven that you can't make good choices. Now the screening committee will do the picking."

My brother, his father, was quick to agree, as was his mother, my mother and even my best friend.

"I'll serve on the screening committee," she said.

"Done," I shouted, knowing she had his best interests at heart.

She has always claimed that, with one exception, I need a screening committee.

Don was the best thing that ever happened to me.

It took until I was in my early 40s to find him and then he died. I don't want the same to happen to my nephew.

"She has to love children," I said of future prospects.

"She has to be able to cook, so she can help with the family dinners," said my mother, his grandmother.

"She has to be able to clean," said my sister-in-law, who once washed bullfrogs because she thought they looked dirty

"Loyal," I said. "She has to be loyal."

That would be novel.

"She has to be able to get along with your aunt," said my brother, who is his father. "So you may be looking for a while."

Instead of getting irritated, I was lost in thought.

It was Don's aunt who served as our matchmaker, and she couldn't have done better.

Maybe we were doing the right thing to appoint me as head of the screening committee.

"This time could she be petite?" Pork asked, caught up in the conversation.

"I think that is doable if she has a good personality," I said. "But I really think you need a redhead, someone who can box your ears if it is necessary."

I looked up to see his daughters standing in the doorway.

"Don't you think Daddy needs a screening committee to find a girlfriend?" I asked.

"Yeah," Raqueal said, "but make sure she can do the laundry, Daddy's not very good at it."

Now that requirements are established, we have only to wait on applicants.

Cathy Wogan is a staff writer for ThisWeek.

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