It’s different today at Five Minute Friday.

 Lisa Jo doesn’t give the usual one-word prompt. This week she asks a question instead:


“Where is your memory buried?

In just five minutes. Tell what your mama did that made her yours.”

So… go!

She told me her heart. Between the soapsuds and the soppy towel strokes and the songs we harmonized by the kitchen sink. Dad would look around the kitchen door and say he could have had those dishes done in half the time we’d already taken, and that showed he plain didn’t understand. To us this wasn’t washing dishes time, it was sharing life and love and heartache and laughter and secrets and fears and trials.

She told me more, I think, than anybody else. When we reminisce, my brothers and I, they listen rapt when I tell what she told and they never knew. I’m  not revealing things she would not have wanted known, only acquainting them with the heart that beat beneath the flour-dusted apron.

That’s what made me know she was mine. She shared her secrets with me. The hidden hurts that sometimes I didn’t even want to know, the tales of long before.

We did crazy things, singing those songs, dancing Russian Cossack kick-in-a squat dances, laughing silly.

Those things made her mine and only mine, because they were things neither of us did with anybody else. Mine then, and still mine now, while I mine the memories…


How about you? How would you answer that question?


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17 thoughts on “Soap Suds and Heart Songs

  1. This is a lovely portrait of you and your mom. It’s also excellent advertising for the idea of eschewing a dishwasher! Thank you very much for sharing it.

    Today was my first time to participate in the Five Minute Friday link-up. It was great fun!

  2. “she was mine” isn’t that an awesome feeling. thank you for letting us peep at this special moments! and thanks for my comment….it is funny in retrospect 😉

  3. Yep, Lori, a dishwasher would have killed it, wouldn’t it?
    Glad you joined up today! 🙂

  4. It is an awesome feeling, Karrie. I don’t know that I realized at the time how this made her specially mine, but we did have fun around that old sink!

  5. People underestimate the usefulness of hand-dishwashing. There’s way more to it than washing dishes. This is lovely.

  6. Cynthia,
    This is making me want to put that DW on hold for a month or two! I am remembering the conversations Husband and I had during those times we were without one and shared in the task after dinner. I also remember feeling a funny sense of loss once we had one again, and he just shuffled off to another room to read, while I scrubbed pots and wiped up… alone. Indeed, there was, and still can be, way more to it than washing dishes! 🙂

  7. Oh, for the heart that beats beneath the flour-dusted apron. That is a poignant and gorgeous visual. I so loved this post, Sylvia. Your words spoke right into that longing place in my heart.

  8. Missy, I’m so glad that spoke to you. It’s a visual that often comes to my mind when I think of my mom.

  9. Such a tender word photo, Sylvia. I could see you there together… I love this kind of story of our lives writing.

  10. “Our lives writing.” I am thinking on that, Pam. Lovely picture, that, too.

  11. Thank you for sharing your sweet times with your mom – just you and her at “Tell Me a Story.” Mother did many special things just for me, but yet she was careful to not appear partial. So many of the lessons I learned from her are recorded in my book one, Rescue the Stories.

  12. Oh, Hazel, I hope I didn’t make my mother look partial toward me. I don’t think anyone thought of her that way. This was simply a matter of “girl talk” and I was the only girl. The boys didn’t hang around like that doing things like dawdling over doing dishes together with Mom, especially by their teen years, so they weren’t available for that same kind of interaction to happen.

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