We didn't have a dishwasher until I was a sophomore in high school. Prior to that time it was mostly my job to clean up after dinner. If there were a lot of dishes or pots and pans, my mom would wash and my dad would dry, but most of the time it was left to me. We had this long, narrow kitchen with pocket doors at each end and a sink under a window looking out to the side yard. I would shut both doors (for the awesome acoustical value!) and sing rock and roll at the top of my lungs, somehow imagining that the doors enclosed not only me but my voice. One evening I had just finished belting out Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit, and was moving into Linda Rondstadt's Different Drum, when my mom yelled thru the door to "for heaven's sake stop singing and finish the dishes, we can't hear the TV"!
The first house I lived in after relocating to Missoula had a huge kitchen with yards of counter space, a work peninsula and an attached breakfast room with a slider to the deck. Best of all it had a nice big window over the sink with a view of the kids playing in the backyard during the day and a sky bright with stars at night. It was while gazing out that window that I stared, slack jawed, as two of my daughter's friends sidled gingerly across the retaining wall at the top of the yard, inching along, arms outstretched and backs against the neighbor's fence, while my dog stood below them barking like crazy. My daughter told me later that the two boys were certain that one misstep meant certain death by Springer Spaniel. I was at the sink when that same dog worked to pull the blanket out of her dog house on the deck, dragged it to the furthest part of the yard, then trotted happily back to her now empty dog house and crawled inside. Evening was just falling and I was wrist deep in suds the day I looked out the window and stared into the beady little eyes of the biggest skunk in the history of skunks, eating from my dog's dish. I yanked my hands out of the water and flipped off the outside lights, apparently thinking the skunk would recognize the "no candy here" message as any good Trick or Treater does and just lumber off home. He didn't. He leisurely finished up, smacked his lips and waddled around the yard, while I hid behind the blinds on the sliding glass door, peering at him in shivering horror, hoping he didn't decide to crawl into the dog house, and if he did, wondering how quickly I could pack up the family and move.
Since that time I have had big kitchens, tiny kitchens and everything in between. I have a lovely window over the sink now, and while I don't belt out top 40 hits much any more, every once in awhile I crank up the music and let George Straight or the Beach Boys or Bruno Mars do the belting for me. Over the years my kitchen sink has seen me argue different sides of political issues, write a resignation for a job I loathed, tell people off and compose scathing product reviews, all while scrubbing whatever was burned into the bottoms of pans. Over a sink full of suds and silverware, I design jewelry, make grocery lists, plan Christmas gifts and plot out mystery stories. Oh yes, and I write blogs.