I often think of what a friend once told me about how much he loved washing the dishes at the end of a meal.

"I'm thanking the pot," he said with relish, patting its bottom as if it were a baby he had just bathed. My Kentucky grandparents enjoyed the dish-washing ritual together after dinner. Poppy always did the drying, and I could tell by the way he caressed the plates with his towel that he, too, was thanking the pot--for helping him prepare nourishment for his body, and for giving him an excuse to stand quietly, helpfully, companionably by his wife's side--nourishment for his heart.

You've eaten your meal. After you've swallowed your last bite--and not while you're chewing, something I catch myself doing way too often--clean the dish. Hot water, a soapy sponge. And gratitude toward the bowl that served you. Pat it dry with affection; that deep bowl enhanced the taste of the grain. Put it back on the shelf with care; that old cup served your grandmother. Don't crowd your cupboards; tend to your things, and that new plate will one day serve your grandchild. Faithful porcelain, thank you. 

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