With powerful clarity, remembering Grandpa and I in front of the deep, white farmhouse sink in Cheyenne, the Christmas he and Grandma visited us in that ugly little blue apartment on 20th street, where he taught me how to properly hand-wash dishes. It was more common not to have a machine in Cheyenne at that point than to have one, and back home in Florida, dishes were his nightly chore. One of the many things he took pride in.
We were side by side, our hands pruning, his unusual accent instructing me about why we always used the hottest water we could stand, and I'm barely listening, because he's Grandpa, and everything he says makes you want to look at his face and get lost in the map of the long, strong life he's lead.
He saved silverware for last, and by the time we got around to it, I was desperate to impress him.
"Now, you don't just run these all under water, wipe 'em with a towel and call it a day," Grandpa said, because that's exactly what he'd seen me do the night before, and had prompted our lesson. "You've gotta soap and scrub each one."
So, I picked up one single piece of silverware at a time, worked it over with a sponge front and back, rinsed it, dried it, put it on the rack.
He waited for at least three cycles of breath to say, ". . . well, for God's sake, girl, you can do a handful at once, I DO have a program to watch."
If you could've heard the lightness in his voice, and seen that pretty old smile, I swear you'd know exactly why this is one of my favorite memories.
Every so often, when I'm feeling nostalgic, I'll hand wash each piece of silverware in my sink one by one, just to drive him a little bit crazy n the back of my mind.