May 27, 2012

“Do the dishes,” every day! - Denise M. Ford

“It doesn’t have a dishwasher, so we’ll have to wash our dishes every day,” my son pointed out as he and his fiancée showed me their new home. 

Flashbacks of dish duty in kitchens through the years spun through my mind, each one emphasized by a slap of a dishtowel as it hit my shoulder. Snapping, swiping, slinging towels swished through my memory with a soundtrack looping through country, Broadway, and camping songs.  Giggles, downright disgusting noises, shouts of frustration, belting choruses of choir songs, rounds discordantly mixed up sending my sister and I into various stages of soppy soapsuds battles during our supposedly simple task of dishwashing. 

“Sometimes you can create fun memories as you wash dishes together,” I silently smiled to myself.

Still in the throes of rapid recollections revolving into my conscious, I leaned against the sink counter remembering how I’d squish my towel towards the water puddles that always gathered and threatened to overflow onto the floor.  I turned to follow along on the tour of the soon-to-be newlywed home, as my fingers searched on my shirt for the faint memory of a damp spot on a well-worn apron conjured from the afternoons I would spend with my Nana cleaning up after family gatherings.   Even with the protection of one of her aprons, I often thought I would fall into her low, deep, double sink as I sopped up splashes while assisting her in the time-old tradition of “doing the dishes.”

Why has my mind wondered into the odd realm of dishwashing as I ponder setting goals for my writing?  Perhaps it is because this mundane task represents how I should set priorities.  Dishes need to be cleaned or cabinets and drawers will become barren of necessary utensils. Regardless of whether I use a keyboard or a manual pen and paper, I need to daily attend to the writing task if I wish to prepare for the next time the ideas gather for a period of “dining and delighting.”

Aligning “doing the dishes” with writing reaffirms that it is a continual process, repeating itself over and over again, not because it is something I hope to do, but because it is something I need to do.  Finding the suitable place setting for the venue at hand becomes my writer’s challenge.

At any rate, I am looking forward to delving into the dishes that line my shelves, clutter up my counters, and threaten to fall to the floor.  Mind you I’m muddling up the metaphors on purpose so that I remind myself that writing can be as much fun as “doing the dishes.”  Snap those ideas and sling around those memories; soak hands into the muck and grease, slop around until the squeaky clean shine makes its appearance.  Lean forward without fear of toppling but definitely enough to get wet. 

“Do the dishes,” every day.

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