Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dishes with Sisters

My older sister and me.
Oh, and with George.
And part of Dad
And a little bit of Blair.

The food had been, as per Mom’s usual standard, delicious.
The conversation had flowed, eddying around such topics as - the day. School. Ranch work. Friends. Town politics.
I was sitting in a contented stupor.
Well fed.
My favourite people in the world around me.
Life was better than fabulous.
“Chris and Diane,” Mom said, smiling at us. “You girls are on dishes tonight.”
And, just like that, my euphoric bubble burst.
I could almost hear the ‘snap’ of its passing.
We looked at each other.
“Okay!” Chris said, bouncing to her feet.
Have I mentioned that my older sister is one of those people who is always willing and cheerful?
She is.
Most of the time, I liked it.
Just not tonight.
My reaction to Mom’s announcement was anything but enthusiastic. “Dishes!? Mooom!”
Okay, I admit that my reaction was purely for selfish reasons. I was in the middle of a good book and my plan had been to drop straight back into it after supper.
But Mom’s word was law and I dragged myself to my feet and helped my perky sister scrape and stack the mountain of dishes.
We did fine to that point.
Now here is where the differences between her way of accomplishing the task, and mine, met.
And clashed.
When she washed, Chris liked to leave the tap on just a tiny trickle. Then she could wash, rinse the item by passing it through the stream, and set the dish into the draining board.
I, on the other hand, preferred the ‘turn-the-tap-on’ method.
Wherein one would turn on the tap each time one was ready to rinse.
In my opinion, it wasted less water.
Here is where I admit that Mom simply put some rinse water into the second sink and . . . dipped.
But who wanted to do it Mom’s way?
I was washing. So I got to choose.
Tap on. Rinse. Tap off.
“Why don’t you just leave it on a trickle?” Chris asked. “It saves time.”
Already feeling disgruntled, I mumbled, “I prefer it this way!”
Big sigh from older sister.
Wash. Tap on. Rinse. Tap off.
“Diane, this is really starting to bug me! Just leave the tap on!”
“Fine!” I turned on the tap and let it trickle.
Chris smiled and continued to dry dishes.
I washed something. Then, out of habit, turned the tap, forgetting that it was already on.
“Diane! It’s already on!”
“Oh, right. Sorry.”
Another dish.
“Diane! It’s already on!”
“Right.”
Another dish.
This time, I turned the tap a little more forcefully than usual.
Not a problem if it wasn’t already on.
Which it was.
The water splashed out, soaking every available surface.
And my sister.
“Diane!”
Oops. “Umm . . . sorry?”
“Ugh. Get out of here and just let me do it!” She reached for the wash cloth and, just like that, I was out of a job.
I stood there for a moment and watched her.
Then I shrugged and went to find my book.
Sisters.
Pffff.                                              

7 comments:

  1. Is this the part where you tell us you didn't plan it this way?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good strategy. I think my son has adopted something similar. If he takes his sweet, merry time someone usually gets frustrated enough to just do whatever it is for him. I should learn...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I remember when it was the boys' turn. Or rather when everyone was gone for a few days except Jerry and I. Mom and Dad were supposed to be home on Sunday and Jerry and I were up too late on Saturday. We were tired and went to bed leaving a sink full of dirty dishes, and full intentions of doing them all up on Sunday. Mom and Dad came home on SATURDAY. Dad woke Jerry and I up and made us do the dishes at 2:00 in the morning.

    ReplyDelete
  4. There is one way to get out of washing the dishes Diane... lol.

    I didn't like when I had to do the dishes either and believe me we had to do them perfect (my step mothers idiosyncrasies) Today I have a dishwasher and I LOVE it... :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love it! Washing the dishes just seemed like the worst job when my sister and I had to do them. And we usually got into some kind of spat while doing them.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Diane, methinks you exercised quite the crafty strategy to get out of washing dishes! hee hee! I hate washing dishes. Even today, I can't bring myself to clean up the messes I make when I cook. This usually results in the Significant Other playing "rock, paper, scissors" with the Son or in the dirty dishes laying in the sink until the next day. During Christmas break, however, it was different. The Daughter loves to wash dishes--she finds it "therapeutic." There wasn't a dirty dish in the sink for the two weeks she was here! :)

    ReplyDelete

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