The Kitchen is probably the room of the house where I spent the most time growing up, if you don't count time asleep. It definitely was the place where my mother spent most of her time, and so as a young child, I was most likely to be there too, right by her side trying to help, and most likely getting in the way. Yes my mother was a stay at home mom, and a farm wife. She baked her own bread every week, cooked three meals a day, washed dishes, and folded laundry, and sewed and ironed clothes in that kitchen. The radio was playing in that kitchen most mornings, and my mother would often dance to the music as she worked, so of course, I would dance too.
I learned to wash dishes, cook, bake bread and cookies, can fruit, and fold clothes, iron shirts, and sew in that kitchen. I remember being excited to wash dishes as a toddler, standing on a kitchen chair next to the sink filled with soapy water. It was a privilege to be allowed to help knead the bread dough every week, and I also remember being paddled for attempting to mix up a batch of cookie dough all by myself while my Mom was out doing some other chore. It was fun to sit with my mother as she showed me how to fold the shirts and the socks after they had been washed and dried on the back porch laundry room next to the kitchen. All of this happened before I ever set a foot in kindergarten. When I tired of helping, the bottom drawer right next to the refrigerator was filled with toys to entertain a young child.
Daddy built our house with the help my Grandpa and Uncle, and only paid for help from an electrician and a plumber. He built all of the kitchen cabinets, installed the counter tops, and laid the vinyl tile floor. Of course this was all done long before I was born. We have always had both an electric stove and a coal burning stove standing next to each other in that kitchen as Daddy is a firm believer in being prepared for any situation that he can be. Several years ago a microwave oven was added to the appliances, but there has never been an electric dishwasher. For over sixty years, all dishes have been washed by hand. We all have taken our turns, with our mother doing the lion share of the work. I really don't mind washing the dishes by hand in that kitchen, at least not now, but I'm sure that I have spent plenty of time dawdling and complaining in front of that kitchen sink, It's a good place to think and get something useful accomplished, and the window above has a nice view of the back pastures and the beautiful valley. The windows have always been home to several geranium plants, carefully watered by my dear mother, and now by my sister,
My siblings and I have spent many hours at the big sturdy wooden kitchen table, doing homework, coloring, painting by number or creating our own water color master pieces. That is where we created and addressed our valentines every February, and created our valentine boxes for school. It's where we colored our Easter Eggs every Spring. We've all played underneath the table too. It has been a house, a cave, a town built with blocks, and many other places in our imaginations. Daddy too has spent his own fair share of time at that table, especially during the winter time, fixing things, balancing the check book. And of course that's where we all gathered together for family meals, treats after Monday night Family Home Evenings, and it's where we all kneeled together for morning and evening family prayers.
The kitchen table is where just a year ago we once again all gathered together again for a traditional supper of oven toasted cheese sandwiches, milk, and chocolate chip cookies and ice cream as we prepared to say our last good byes to our dear mother. She is now gone, and Daddy spends many hours there alone. We try to visit often, because in that kitchen, that's where we find home.