We don’t have a dishwasher, well, except for the humans who live in this household. Usually after a big dinner party, JB and I get all the leftovers into the refrigerator and then first thing in the morning, we work at getting all the dishes washed. Because we have had a full night’s sleep, we are refreshed and it becomes a time to process the evening’s anecdotes, observations, questions, conversation. I enjoy the banter and decoding, the revisiting of stories.
When I was younger, after a big family seder or other family holiday dinner at my grandmother’s, all the women gathered in the kitchen to do the dishes before dessert was served. I loved being in the room with all the energy of my aunts and female cousins, my mother and grandmother. They would gossip and laugh and share secrets, sometimes argue, sometimes get mysterious and coded in their language. It always seemed to be a world apart in that kitchen, a sorority whose meaning was always just beyond my understanding and comprehension. My grandmother didn’t have a dishwasher either.
Second seder’s clean-up took place this morning. It has lost the gendered bias of years ago, but was still filled with the rich conversation of the mysteries and joys, the conflicts and complications of relationships, along with generous critiques of food and seder. Cleaning up was a way of extending the experience of the previous evening. There was a lot to wash and dry and put away. A lot to talk about. Sometimes dishwashers aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.