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Dishes with Grandma

Grandma made homemade noodles in gravy on Christmas Eve. She wore herself out making all kinds of food just for us. We returned on Christmas to give our gift. She fed us again. Since she was the last one to eat, I started cleaning up while she sat down. She has learned to accept that others will do the dishes but sometimes still feels compelled to tell you that you don’t have to do that. I had already rinsed all the plates. I clean out the sink wondering if some of the trash should go in the compost bucket. Once the sink was clean I fill up one side with straight hot water. Grandma does it this way. I submerge the stack of plates and begin to wash them in the soapy water, rinse them and place them on the large beige drain mat she uses to drain the dishes. And then I got caught. After reminding me that I didn’t need to do that, she grabbed a towel and started to dry them. I told her I really like her sunflower decorated plates and she quietly shares the secret. They are a dollar store find! She began giving them away for wedding gifts and now doesn’t have a full set. Anyway, Grandpa doesn’t like them because they are heavy. I smile knowing that Grandpa has definite opinions. I scratch at the melted black spots on the Tupperware bowl and ask if that was going to come off. She reports that someone had used it in the microwave when she wasn’t looking. Apparently, old Tupperware wasn’t made the same back when she bought this bowl in pre-microwave days. It’s a shame since she really likes that bowl. I quickly remember when my family brought home a microwave. What a wonder that was. Grandma microwaves by setting the time on 9 minutes and opening the door to stop the time, until it all runs out and she has to remember how to reset the time again. As I wash the pan with the stuck on noodles she tells me she’s had those pans for so many years and how they are good pans. I complain that you just can’t find good pans anymore. They hardly last a year. She can’t comment on that though since she hasn’t experienced it. My hands are burning from the hot water in the sink and it matches the warmth swelling in my heart. I rinse in cold water just to cool off. I finish the dishes and she thanks me for doing the dishes. I think about how much I love her company and how pleasant it is to work with her and I tell her I like doing the dishes with Grandma. She receives the love in my voice. We exchange mutual looks of knowing and nurturing as we smile at each other; smiles that say so much more than our voices could ever say.
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