Friday, April 16, 2010


Now that I have left modern society and regressed to a house (gasp) without a dishwasher, we have been getting into the ritual of nightly washing. While serving as high priestess to the lukewarm water tonight, I was reminded of two entangled things, both family stories.

First, I remember my mother telling me on more than one occasion how much she HATED drying dishes as a child, particularly when her older brother was on sink duty. She said he would wait for the adults to leave the room, then poor water over the nearly-dry dishes waiting for her in the drainer.

The second memory comes because of that story. I heard it, time and again, while I stood to the right of my mother, drying the dishes that she washed. She taught me to start with the cleaner, lighter washing first, rather than greasy pots and pans, so that the destruction of the sink water would occur at the last possible moment. She taught me to rinse in the hottest water my hands could bear, and to let the dishes sit in the drainer so the air could do some of my work. First standing on a chair, then standing on my own two legs, I both loathed and looked forward to dish time.

Mom and I would turn on the old kitchen radio, always tuned to an oldies station, and we would pass the time cleaning up after the family. I hated the chore, but loved that precious time with her. We've talked about many things over dripping dishes, both serious and silly, and I still pick up a towel and offer to help whenever my siblings aren't being put to work.

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