1/ Title this, Why I Use a Dish Rack

For years, a close friend has teased me about the dish rack in my kitchen.

“Why, Con?” she wants to know.

Her list is the perfect closing argument:
2/ I have a dishwasher. Many of our dishes are durable enough to go into that dishwasher at the end of their workday. When I use china, the dish rack can leave its home from under the sink, briefly. No need for it to take up valuable counter space as a permanent resident.
3/ Solid reasoning. To which I say, “Please pass the Dawn.”

The pandemic, which slowed my daily pace to a crawl, has helped me understand this about myself: This is my thinking place.
4/ Columns and essays are built here, one paragraph at a time. Entire chapters of my first novel found their beginnings here, when I sank plates into the suds and remembered yet another thing about life in the 1950s…the 1960s…the ‘70s.
5/ Ellie’s life changed the day I looked out the window and saw a pair of cardinal parents on the platform feeder. She would do everything she could to save her marriage, no matter how many friends (and later readers) thought Brick did not deserve her.
6/ That bird feeder hangs from the tree planted for grandchild Clayton. We’ve planted one for each grandchild. Clayton will always be our first and apparently it never hurts to remind a person of such a thing, particularly right after he has turned 13.
7/ Sometimes, I fill the dishwashing time by looking at each framed photo of our grandchildren and tell them stories about their lives, so far. Memory practice, I assure myself.
8/ In September, I started describing to my grandchildren in the photos what it will be like first time we’re together again. Out loud, in my Grandma voice. My way, maybe, of assuring them (and me) that I’m still here.
9/ This photo was taken at dawn, my favorite time of the morning. When I see grandson Milo, I’m going to show him how the shadow of his blue star creates another star on our kitchen cabinet.
10/ My son Andy made the wooden collage in the upper right, at age eight. When he saw it up there his first words were, “I can’t believe you still have that.” He used his man’s voice, but he was smiling.
11/ My daughter made the Caitlin💜Mom wedge of wood when she was nine. The message on her glued popsicle sticks, to the left, reads “The Greatest Mom!” It has faded to a whisper, but I am waiting for her to trace it with an Extra Fine Point Sharpie in her 33-year-old hand.
12/ I can imagine, in that moment, three-year-old Ela asking, “Mommy, why are you doing that?” My daughter will pause to smile at her daughter and say, “Because Grandma is a mommy, too.”
13/ A calendar hangs over the dish rack, always. My schedule is on my phone calendar, but I like the artwork of calendars made by women. A different one hangs in our laundry room. It’s the first piece of art I see when I walk in from the garage.
14/ My friend Karen Sandstrom’s calendar is in my office. I love sharing her whimsical drawings with students during class. Anyone who has spent the last three semesters on Zoom likely understands the mood lift of seeing dogs happily strapped to flying balloons.
15/ The potted plant is a succulent clover. I never knew such a thing existed until I ordered one from Groovy Plants in Marengo, Ohio. Immediately after meeting the first one, I ordered four more. Each bundle of clover arrived ready to dance in the middle of winter.
16/ I chose the pot for this clover after Sherrod said it reminded him of a seam on a baseball. It makes me think of him when I look at it, especially when he’s in Washington. On January 6, I held it in my hands for a while until I knew he was safe.
17/ Soon, those pots will be filled with wildflowers from my garden. Little promises on my windowsill. The red car was a gift from my son on my third Christmas as a single mom. “One day I will have a red car,” he heard me say, once, and so he slipped this into my stocking.
18/ The angel looking over that little red car was a gift from my friend Maxxine who read my palm more than two decades ago and said, “The love of your life is on his way, and he has curly hair.” How about that.
19/ One more thing: The bell on the right is to beckon Franklin and Walter to come in from the yard at night so that we can go to bed already. Dinging that bell works every time, as long as we remember to yell, “Treat!”

And that is the story of my dish rack.

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More from @ConnieSchultz

7 Mar
I love this photo of Sherrod by ⁦@AnnaMoneymaker⁩ for the New York Times. He’s sitting just outside the Senate chamber, before dawn. His book: Keith Mestrich’s Organized Money: How Progressives Can Leverage The Financial System To Work For Them, Not Against Them.
Getting questions about that little door under the portrait. Sherrod said in the 19th Century senators were shorter. He’s promised to ask the Senate historian, so I’ll be back when I have the real answer.
Thanks to @kelsey_snell for this link to an explanation by the Capitol architect. aoc.gov/explore-capito…
Read 4 tweets
18 Aug 20
Writers still release new books, and what a time to be launching our creations into the world. Let's do a thread of books published during the pandemic. Photos and links welcome.

I am loving the hundreds of pictures sent by readers. This is a favorite. #WearAMask Image
For example, @jimtankersley has a new book out, The Riches of This Land. publicaffairsbooks.com/titles/jim-tan…
Read 9 tweets
2 Aug 20
Dear good people: In this crisis, a growing number of our fellow humans in America need food and, in too many families, diapers for their babies. If you are able, please donate to a hunger center or diaper bank.
Here’s one way to find a hunger center or food bank near you: feedingamerica.org/find-your-loca…
Here’s the link for the National Diaper Bank Network. nationaldiaperbanknetwork.org/home-covid19/
Read 4 tweets
15 Jul 20
1/ When I was 6 years old, right after first grade had ended, my teacher invited my mother & me to her home. Unthinkable!

We wore Sunday clothes. I was so nervous & excited that I sat wedged next to Mom on Mrs. Behrendt’s sofa. I remember two things about what came next.
2/ Mrs. Behrendt gave me this framed Award of Honor, signed by her and the principal — and the superintendent! Mom talked about that for weeks. It was displayed on our dining room wall for years.
3/ As we were preparing to leave that day, Mom walked onto the front porch and Mrs. Behrendt pulled me back for a hug and whispered into my ear, “You are a very smart little girl. Let the grown-ups worry about grown-up problems.”
Read 6 tweets
5 Jun 20
1/ A story.

I have known Lylah Rose Wolff since she was a little girl who was frequently up to her elbows in a craft of her creation. She is trying to look fierce in that first photo, which I snapped in the late ‘90s during a painting project in my home.
2/ Lylah was such a kind and whimsical child, and had the habit of suddenly sitting next to me on the couch, on the floor, on our front porch to ask questions that launched my mind into flight. I remember just one, because I wrote down our exchange in a notebook:
3/ “If you didn’t know my mom, would you still have found me and become my friend?”

We were planted on my front steps, sitting hip to hip after picking up dropped blooms from a hanging fuchsia. Her opened hands were full of petals, her eyes focused on my face.
Read 10 tweets
6 May 20
1/ This is my friend Gaylee McCracken & me in 1986. We were working on a newsletter at a laundromat because I didn’t have a working washer. I had a camera on me, always, & when my son aimed it at us, we started clowning around. We were 2 young mothers with career dreams on hold.
2/ Gaylee was a silkscreen artist who had always wanted to be a doctor. I was a stay-at-home mom who yearned to be a full-time journalist. Others judged or dismissed us for our ambitions, but we were a team of two & never stopped believing in each other.
3/ We learned that there is no one trajectory for a rewarding life. We made each other brave. Here we are in 1999, when Gaylee graduated from medical school. I was a feature writer at The Plain Dealer & single mom. She is a beloved primary care physician. I’m still writing.
Read 4 tweets

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