Thursday, April 3, 2008
A Very Rich Man
When I was about 10 years old, it seemed everyone we knew was getting a dishwasher. Often it was avocado green and on wheels. The butcher-block top allowed it to double as a kitchen island. When it was full of dirty dishes, you could wheel it over to the sink, secure the hose to the faucet, dump in some soap, turn on the hot water, and wah-lah, 2 1/2 hours later your dishes were clean.
Such luxuries, however, were not for us. Regularly, my younger sisters and I were sent to the kitchen to wash dishes after dinner. With orange vinyl kitchen chairs pushed up to the sink, inevitably, we would get the counters, the floor and our clothes as wet as the dishes.
Occasionally, we hosted guests for Sunday dinner. After the meal, they would begin to rise and offer to help with the dishes.
"Sit down," my dad would insist, "The girls will clear the plates." And even though we really wanted help with our chore, obediently four little girls ages 5-10 would get up and begin clearing the table.
"Well I can help wash the dishes," the guest would often offer, "You don't have a dishwasher do you?"
"A dishwasher?" my dad would brag, "Are you kidding? We've got four!" And with that his four dishwashers would take the dirty plates, glasses, bowls, and silverware and disappear into the kitchen for a water fest.