DO WE WASH THE LID?
Whenever the Daughter of Francesca and her family chance to be with us for a meal, the Daughter of the Daughter of Francesca and I wash the dishes afterward. As a usual thing, it is I who wash off the remains of the meal, rinsing away the suds with hot water. She uses the drying towel to finish the job. Of course, Francesca comes later to put the clean things in the places where she has determined, long ago, that they belong. She has the fear that, if this fails to be done, there will be a time in the future when it is her intention to use a particular utensil and that instrument will be hidden where she, Francesca, would never think to place it. This has happened in the recent past.
Now it came to pass this way: One evening, as the two of us, who were to work in the scullery, contemplated the pleasures of :Fellowship in the Presence of Dishwater”, the young lass enquired if, perchance, she might play in the sudsy, foamy, lovely water as the dishes made their way along in the process of being cleansed. This would leave her Granddad the chore of rinsing and drying after the major task reached its completion. Of course, this was fine with the one who was to dry.
“What do I wash first, Granddad?” she asked.
“Well, Honey,” I answered, “the glassware is probably the least dirty, so let’s wash it first. I usually wash the flatware next, and follow that with the china. This leaves the pots and pans, the dirtiest things, to the last. Now, you do as you wish. You’re the boss!”
“I think that you have figured it out best, Granddad,” she said, and began with the drinking glasses. After we two had completed the glassware, the flatware, and the china, we were faced with the pots and pans.
She placed a pot in the water, washed the part which had contained the food, and then, looking at me with eyes that would melt the hardest heart, queried, “Must I wash the lid? It has only rested on top of the boiling cabbage. I’m sure it has not become dirty. Steam has long been used to clean things.”
“Well, let me think,” responded the wise adult. After a little contemplation, I took the lid and made the enquiry, “With what do you smell?”
“With my nose, Silly,” laughed the cheery eyed lass.
“Bring your nose, and follow me,” I ordered.
We thus left the kitchen, away from cooking smells, and, holding the lid near to the child’s lovely nose, I asked, “What do you smell?”
“Of course,” I said. “The lid may not be dirty, but we need to remove the smell of cabbage. The next time that lid is used, the flavor of cabbage may ruin the food that is cooked within the pot over which that selfsame lid rests.”
“That sounds like a good idea to me,” said the blond angel.
We went back to the sudsy, foamy, lovely water, and the damsel washed the lid.
As we finished, I remarked to her, “Your life—and, indeed, my life as well—is somewhat like the lid for the cabbage. We may be doing or thinking fairly good things, but the ‘smell’ of that activity will be with us the rest of our lives. If that thought or activity doesn’t ‘smell good’, it will stink up our lives just like good things we do will make our lives have a ‘pleasant odor’. You just be very careful what kind of ‘smells’ are associated with your beautiful life.”
And, as she hugged my neck and kissed me upon both of my cheeks, I observed that she smells really good.