When we moved to our current house, I was very excited because of the magic drawer.
You know, the magic drawer that you put dishes in and then swish, swish, swish, swish, they magically come out clean.
Of course, Practical Man has been known to remove dishes from the magic drawer to wash them in the sink. It bewilders me and I would never do it because I believe it is an insult to the magic drawer whose mere existence is…magical, in my opinion.
Anyway, I have loved the magic drawer from the first moment we met. And, not just because there had been many times in my early 20s, when I hid dirty dishes in the oven when my mother came to visit. The magic drawer sort of mesmerizes me (I am easily entertained) but my fascination has its roots in vintage times, when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s.
There was no magic drawer in our house. Not until I had left home. Behold the evidence. (p.s. my mother would like you to know that she, like Julia Child, no longer has pegboard in her kitchen.) Helping with the dishes and other parentally-inflicted hardships (like the lone, 13′” black-and-white TV we had until I left for university) allows my sister and I to tease our parents and feel smug about our “deprived” childhoods. Some parents cry when their children move out. Mine went on a shopping spree and bought all the modern conveniences we had been begging for over the years.
Anyway, no magic drawer. Deprived childhood. Years and years of doing dishes. Boo, hoo, hoo. You get the gist. All perfect material for a modern-day family dinner party.
However, we did have dishwashing music.
The deal in our house was that my mom cooked the supper and my sister, dad and I did the cleaning up. Far from mere drudgery of dirty pots and table crumbs, the “cleaning up” was my favourite part of any meal (especially if that meal had involved ratatouille or meatloaf–bleech). The dishwashing collection was our dad’s pile of 45 records, some old, some new. The only criteria for making it into the collection was that it had to have what he termed: “a good beat”.
All the better for us to engage in our tra-la-la (I think that’s where it started for me), doo wap and bee bop.
We were like the Ellen Degeneres show except with tea towels.
It was a festive affair, the cleaning up. It often took us hours what with the trading of DJ duties, careful selection of music, enthusiastic dancing (and dripping of water on the floor) and of course the…
A wimoweh, a wimoweh, a wimoweh…
A wah, wah, wah, wah, wonder…
One o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock, rock…
Wah ha ha ha ha haaaaah…
It was not a magic drawer, but it was magic. Around 8:00, our mom would appear from the basement (where she had no doubt been squinting at the tiny black and white television) and gasp, “Aren’t you done YET?!”
One more song. Just one more song.
The dishes were done ages ago. The tra-la-la, doo wap and bee bop of dishwashing music lasts forever.