I have a drawer in the kitchen that houses my tea towels. I call them tea towels because my grandmother referred to them in that way. Her tea towels were a daily necessity in the kitchen. She never owned a dishwasher. She was the dishwashing machine.
I have lovely and vibrant memories of my sweet, little grandmother wearing her handmade apron that tied around her neck and her waist. She’s wearing rubber gloves, protecting her hands from the extremely hot faucet water. She’s standing at the sink, washing the dishes and then placing them in the green plastic dish drainer. She knew how to get the suds going for her washing cycle. She had a double sink and she knew how to minimize the use of water when she was rinsing. They were on well water and were ever vigilant about conserving their supply. They truly wasted nothing, especially their precious water. My grandfather completes my recollection, as I see him standing tall and strong by my petite grandmother. I see the tea towel in his massive hands. He’s wiping the dishes dry. The cupboard doors are open to save time as he puts each dish away in its place. Lots of dishes could need more than one tea towel. Not a problem.
Grandmother had lots of tea towels. Her towels were all cotton, a thin cotton and they all looked the same. There were however, a few that she hand embroidered with tiny purple violets. They were special. After drying the dishes, the damp towels were hung on this nifty three-pronged hanger, so the towels would air dry. Once dry, the towels became useful one more time before being washed by my grandmother in the hand wringer washing machine. Then she hung them out to dry on the clothes line. It was a system that worked.
I think that my grandmother would like my tea towels, although they are quite different in look and in usage from hers. Some remind me of our travels and some were gifts from family members, so each one is unique and finally, we use them to dry only the pots and pans that cannot be accommodated in the dishwasher. I know Nannie would really appreciate that my husband prefers to dry, just like my grandfather.
I like my tea towels. It’s a deja vu each time I open the tea towel drawer.
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