My favorite dish towels are the ones that Mama makes. They’re usually simple unbleached muslin with a healthy dose of hand embroidery. When she sent me a new set of days-of-the-week towels with some of my favorite flowers, I decided to use them only for decoration. I wanted them to remain forever free of stains. And that’s exactly  how it worked for about a year — until Mama came to visit for Easter.

This time she brought a dish towel with a bright yellow duck appliqued on it and another with purple pansies embroidered on it. I hung the new one with purple pansies on the stove handle where I could admire it and keep it safe, but in a flash it was gone. I found it crumpled up on the counter with splatters of chocolate cake batter.

Mama had used it.

If one of the boys had used my special towel, he would have gotten an ear full about all the work that had gone into creating that. Instead, I said nothing because it’s hard to argue with the creator. Besides I knew what Mama’s answer would have been. I made them to be used and enjoyed.

She’s right, really. Too often I save things. I protect them and pull them out only on special occasions, afraid that my day-to-day life is too messy. You can always bleach them, she says. The embroidery should still hold up.

If the Creator isn’t afraid of stains, maybe I shouldn’t be either.

 

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