Day 3 – Disdain for Dishes Part 2 (A story about Dad)

Messy Me Makeover Day 3


Yesterday I shared a story about my mom doing dishes, and today I give you a story about dishes and my dad. And yes, I’ll get around to doing dishes myself soon. But for now, I’ll let that sit for one more day…why do today what you can put off ’til tomorrow? (Yep, I really do need a Messy Me Makeover!) I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.


My dad was the second oldest of seven kids. Big busy family. I remember him laughing and sharing the lesson that visiting friends would quickly learn: if you’re at the Meyering dinner table, you’d better take what food you want the first time it gets passed to you, because it might be gone before it comes around again.

My two favorite dish towels.                                        For drying. Not snapping.

Lots of mouths means lots of food (though maybe not enough for seconds, especially with Annette’s amazing cooking!) and lots of food means lots of dishes. With so much work to go around, everyone was expected to pitch in and help, including nightly kitchen duty utilizing multiple built-in dishwashers – aka right hand, meet left hand. Hop to it.

On the older end of the sibling line-up were two boys and then two girls. As my grandma tells it, my dad liked to flick his younger sisters with the dish towel to insert his version of mischievous fun into the monotonous chore.

SNAP! SNAP!

The girls didn’t like this of course and complained. So grandma warned, “NO MORE, Gary, or you’re doing the dishes ALONE.” But the big brother shenanigans continued.

SNAP! SNAP!

He promptly found himself assigned to the sink without any helpers, along with another warning. “Keep doing it, and you’ll spend ALL WEEKEND on dish duty BY YOURSELF.”

I wonder, did he intentionally weigh the options at this point, carefully deciding whether the sure consequence was worth the satisfaction of another swat? Or was he, despite his best efforts to behave, simply a moth to a flame, so drawn to the enticing opportunity to gleefully tease once more?

SNAP! SNAP!

With the quick motion of his arm he sent the lingering girls running and shrieking out of the kitchen – and added 3 more days to his time served.


I love this story. I can imagine it vividly, playing out in their childhood home only two streets over from where I now live. These are the things that, as kids, can divide siblings with anger and annoyance. As adults, though, we often grow to laugh and roll our eyes with begrudging fondness remembering our younger years together. I’m sure my aunts would now gladly endure their big brother’s pesky antics for the chance to stand beside him once again and share the simple task of washing dishes at the kitchen sink on Linden Ave.

Sometimes it’s the little things we miss the most.
The little things that add up to big memories and big love.
We all miss him so.

What about you?
What are the things that used to annoy you that now make you smile?
What memory would you like to go back and relive?
Share your story in the comments.

See you tomorrow for more Messy Me Makeover! To see links to all the posts in this series, please go here.

11 thoughts on “Day 3 – Disdain for Dishes Part 2 (A story about Dad)

  1. Pingback: Day 2 – Disdain for Dishes Part 1 (A Story about Mom) – AndreaDeWard.com – Go. Show. Love.

  2. Kathy

    Remembering the dish towel shenanigans again-Ivan’s.!??

    There were other less verbal ‘plays’ to make. Meyering ‘after supper’ rules included piano/instrument practice. Dishes lasted as long as practicing. If a certain big brother had dish duty and a date on the same night, well, things could get rather drawn out…. manipulating future chores…

    1. Jeannie

      Ditto Leslie 😉 Andrea, thank you for doing this. It is really helping me set goals and accomplish them. Remembering that the “Day in and day out” stuff is just as important as special events.

  3. Joanne Meyering Temple

    I also remember dad talked about singing with aunt Kathy during dish duty. “His Eye is on the Sparrow” was a favorite. We sang it at his funeral.

  4. Lesley

    I love how you bring the story to life so vividly- and also appreciate your reflection that things that annoyed us at the time can become memories that we look back on fondly.

    1. Andrea Post author

      Thank you so much! I love doing that with stories, either remembering or imagining/reconstructing a scene and bringing to life the sights and sounds and thoughts and emotions. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  5. Linda

    That’s funny and a typical boy. I was an only child and for much of my early life, my parents were my best friends, and we always had a great relationship. I have many memories, and miss them always.

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