Sunday, November 6, 2016

In The Night Kitchen


I've been having some work done on my house these last few weeks.  And it's been stressful.  I haven't been home for the noise and mayhem but there are plenty of new chores when I do come home.  And extra emails, texts and phone calls during the day from the contractor.  He's a nice man but I'll be glad when it's all over.

I had no intention of emptying the dishwasher one night last week.  The early darkness has been unnerving me a bit as I still get used to living alone.  I wanted to put my glass in the sink and escape back to my safe room with the warm and cozy light stream and pretend I didn't see the leftover screws on the floor.  But I did see some crumbs near the toaster and brushed them down the sink with my hand and then a towel left on the microwave needed to be smoothed and hung.  Before long, I was sweeping up the screws and dust from the day's booted feet...and emptying the dishwasher.  Slowly a calming peace came over me. The atmosphere was quiet and still and I was alone with my thoughts.  Before long, all felt right with the world again.

One of my favorite wartime films, Since You Went Away, is about wife and mother Anne Hilton whose husband Tim departs for war, leaving Anne to tend the home fires alone.  One night, while her girls are bickering upstairs, Anne remains in the kitchen doing what grown-ups do:  clean up.  As I worked my way through the kitchen, I thought of Anne making lunches, filling the percolator and setting it on the stove, and generally tidying up in her apron in the darkened kitchen.  And even though a war raged across the ocean and at home there were frightening black-out nights, mounting chores and responsibilities never slowed down.  As the grown-up, Anne was on first.  

There is something very adult about taking care of business in the night kitchen.  It's a way of taking care of yourself too.  Work left undone in the kitchen makes for chaos everywhere.  And when the heart of the home is tidy, the rest of the house seems tidy too.

~

Note:  The picture above was forwarded to me by reader and pen pal, Judy, who clipped it from her parent's Readers Digest as a girl and saved it for the time she would have her own kitchen.  Look closely and you will see our pretty homemaker is not performing her nighttime kitchen tasks alone ;)




21 comments:

  1. What a wonderful piece of synchronicity, Donna - we recently moved into an old house (I sympathize about the contractor disruption) but my husband is going away for a short business trip and I've been rather unnerved at the idea of being alone in this big old house at night. I'll try to find the movie you mentioned to rent while he's away!

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    1. You'll do great Amy...keep busy and stick to your chores! xo

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  2. I just love this, Donna! And you're utterly correct--if we leave that piled-up sink and scruffy, crumb-y counter, the next morning feels like it's started on empty. I love to putter and bustle in my kitchen, setting it to rights, and facing the new morning with a tidy place to make breakfast. Wonderful post! Thanks for sharing--and I do love that image!!!! And yes, I did notice the Mr. has arrived to help dry the dishes! Charming!

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  3. Living alone is difficult, more difficult than I ever imagined. Odd little things that never occurred to me before, are now at the forefront. Drapes. I never had them, never wanted them. But now that my husband is gone, I feel naked, almost like I'm on stage and, like you, can't wait to retreat back to the safe room with it blinds and curtains. I understand.

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    1. You too Gail? I flee to my happy room every night...but I'm better. Xo

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    2. You too Gail? I flee to my happy room every night...but I'm better. Xo

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  4. I didn't realize there was a movie made of "Since You Went Away." I read the book years ago and it's still a favorite.

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    1. It was Selznick's blockbuster response to Gone With the Wind...please let me know what think #myfavoritemovie!

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    2. It was Selznick's blockbuster response to Gone With the Wind...please let me know what think #myfavoritemovie!

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    3. That movie has been a favorite of mine since I was a child. And I agree. When I am alone, and it is night, I close the drapes on the outside world and retreat into my cozy little domicile with a cup of tea, a book or an old movie, and should it be winter, a fire in the wood stove!

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  5. My youngest is going away to college in 9 months and I will be living alone for the first time in my life. Recently welcomed a puppy into my life as I knew I would need the company. It's just nice to know that there is another breathing thing sharing my home- and one who barks when there is an unusual sound! I do find having routines and structure helps and brings peace of mind.

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  6. WHO is with HER.........I cannot make out any furry creature or otherwise!DO tell.........
    WE all have our comfortable spots........
    But it does feel good to clean up a bit!
    I did that too yesterday!!

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  7. Contessa...look to the far left and u will see her husband watching her! Xo

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  9. Isn't it interesting that doing routine chores can quiet your mind down? I often notice the therapeutic effect that results from maintaining some order in the house. Nice piece!

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  10. I recently decided to return to washing dishes by hand. Many moves and many homes, and sooner or later found the dishwasher would eventually ruin dishes and flatware, good pots too.
    Just my husband and I now, and I we cook together...but I like to do the clean-up. ( I'm particular about it) I'm finding it very soothing...helped by a beautiful view. Sets the world right, somehow.
    Thank you for your writing. I am a long-time reader who does not comment often. I would bet that you have many more fans than you know.

    Best,
    G

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    1. Gloria, I thank you so much! I DO wish I received more comments but Google doesn't make commenting easy. Your words are music to my ears!

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  11. You make me fall in love with an old world.

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    1. Nabiha, as always, your comments mean so much to me! Please keep reading - I will be starting my Feminine Christmas series soon. You are very appreciated by me!

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