Feedback about our new kitchen shelves has been interesting. I should have expected it but I realize that I am so pleased with the materializing of my dreams that I am still startled when the “practical” questions are asked, “Won’t you get tired of cleaning the dusty dishes?”
Scenes of Sunday dinner tables set in china and glittering glass and silverware, laden heavy with honest meat and taters dishes, presented beautifully in china and glass service, come to mind. Our mothers and grandmothers invested considerable planning, effort and thought into a carefully set table and tastefully prepared food. After a long week of dirty, mundane farm chores and garden work or winter sewing messes, a clean house and a pretty table was a delightful comfort of beauty and provision. We all remember.
Then they made paper plates. And we started grilling and having picnics. On a mere whim we could throw in plates and cups and hotdogs and eat on the run off the tailgate by a campfire. It is fun and quick and nobody has to do dishes. We love it. Even the mom has time to tramp in the woods, take a few pictures, and wade in the stream now, because what is easier than throwing the plates and cups on the embers?
This was “all fine and good” until they started setting the Sunday dinner table with paper plates. Now that is a travesty! I think the point is to not have to wash dishes. Why ever not wash dishes? I remember the parade of finely dresses women on a Sunday afternoon, white tea towels and steaming glassware in hand, visiting and laughing, carrying china and glasses carefully back to the cupboard to rest in gleaming rows till next Sunday. A certain kind of visiting happens over dishwater and tea towels. Things that men and children are not meant to know or hear. Tears and triumphs are shared over dishwater. Sisters learn to harmonize while doing the dishes. We miss so much when we use paper plates!
So in changing my kitchen to open shelving I am hoping to celebrate Clark’s statement at the dinner table one day. One of the girls bringing the desert asked, “Do we want clean bowls?” Clark answered the question nicely, “I perfer china.”
Let’s not be lazy home makers. We should continue the tradition and serve a nice meal on china plates regularly. Everyone needs a break from dirt and sorrow and the common problems of life. Washing the dishes should be a balm to the soul of any home maker is my belief. Why not make even the food and dishes in our lives part of the art of homemaking. Celebrate home and family every single day.