Thursday, June 16, 2011

“Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”  Psalm 51:7 (NIV)

Squeaky & Clean

         Unless you grew-up in a family with someone by the name of Jeeves lurking around every corner then more than likely, at some point, you had to labor over the sink washing dishes.  Of course growing up my family did not own a dishwasher so “doing the dishes” was a frequent occurrence. My household boasted a mom, a dad, a score of siblings, and even grandparents.  We weren’t the Waltons, on many levels, but size wise we were the same.  Now, in the 21st century, most of us have one if not all of the customary conveniences like microwaves, dishwashers, and washing machines being utilized daily. But upon occasion I’m sure some still hand-wash certain items. Fine china and stemware is a good example. When washed well they squeak when fingers pass across their smooth porcelain or glass surfaces notifying us they have been satisfactorily cleaned. I love doing dishes.  Perhaps it’s been ingrained from the years of my youth.  Most every evening I was the lucky recipient given the responsibility of filling both sides of the double sink with water, one side for washing the other for rinsing.  Because of this salads day ritual, to this day warm sudsy dishwater still produces a warm and fuzzy sentiment.
         Speaking of squeaking, we’ve all heard the adage the squeaky wheel gets the oil.   Well, in the case of the screen door whose hinges groan every time it opens and closes, maybe its better left alone.  Sounds such as these are reminders, indicators of things which have been used and loved for many a year.  In my case it’s the noisy screen door at grandma’s house that lures me into what was a weekly occurrence during warmer weather.  Laundry day. Due to this ritual the door got used quite a bit in my childhood, because back then we owned a clothesline.  This was the thing in which clothes were hung on to dry.  An amazing concept I know, yet, a dying art form.  I use the word art, because when done properly the affect was like a watercolor in motion.  There was a skill to fitting every wet sheet, towel and article of clothing side by side, so when the breeze kicked up they moved in perfect unison.  This is a long forgotten craft, which is too out of fashion, unattractive, or too time consuming; I’m not sure which.  I would even go as far to say it has been outlawed in some communities for it’s supposed disorderly appearance.  How sad for those of us who have never smelled wash dried by a warm afternoon breeze or run pell-mell through the large cotton sheet hallways hung row after row. Much to my great-grandmothers chagrin, my brother and I would catapult ourselves through the cottoned softness from one side to the other giggling all the way. Still, I give kudos to the name brand laundry detergents and fabric softeners that do their best to imitate earthly smells, but truly only God giving nature a hand can do it justice. The best reward for the hard labor, however, was in the evening when you could lie down against the cool fabric and smell the freshness of a fine sweet day.  Perhaps these things, which took time but are considered drudgery nowadays, is why the maxims, “idle hands are the devil’s workshop” or “put your hands to work and your hearts to God” hold more truth now than ever.   Today, with my high performance Jetson like washing machine and dryer, I still will take a moment and press the just dried laundry to my face in hopes my nose will catch a trace of nostalgia from so many years ago.

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