Savannah Morning News
Sunday, April 3, 2016
There. I did it. (Maybe.) I threw away three dishtowels, three nasty, stained, discolored towels. The favorite came from Hay-On-Wye, the little town in Wales with all the bookstores, a towel that unfortunately acquired a major pen stain early on, blue, a smudge that never washed out. I kept the towel because it reminded me of that town’s name, a pretty extraordinary place if you’re ever in the neighborhood. We need memory nudges, right? But now we have our other brain, the Internet, aka Wikipedia, so I don’t really need to keep that grubby towel though it was a nice piece of linen and it brought me back to the day we almost threw the GPS out the window of our rented car, so frustrated were we. There are no road signs in Wales, no way to know what county you’re in or how to spell it. Anyway, everything looks different when you’re driving on the “wrong” side of the road, which is where the steering wheel sits – on the “wrong side” of the front seat.
The other towel came from Sicily. It had a lovely map as well but it too came down with a nasty case of the stains, probably from wiping the floor when someone accidentally stepped in the dog’s water bowl (nothing worse) because that’s what happens when you don’t keep paper towels and the doorframe is so narrow. I don’t really need to be reminded I was in Sicily, not when I can think of arincinis, those steamy rice balls (or potato croquettes) or that hearty red wine, nero d’avola, a variety you can buy most places in the States though it always seems to taste better there.
The other towel, decorated with chickens because when you have chickens (or rabbits or Chihuahuas or elephants) or anything else you might live with because that’s what people bearing gifts think to give, it must have been used to wipe a wet dog or dirty shoes. Can you say foul? Gross? All of the above.
But who wants matching kitchen towels or matching anything? I always say matching is overrated until I’m in someone else’s house and see all white kitchen towels. Then I have matching envy, which is akin to envy for negative space. But maybe the towels were rented for the wedding we were attending, just like the wine glasses and the water glasses. They matched too.
But what about single earrings, wonderful, fabulous single earrings, where one may have slipped off in a restaurant when you took a coat off or maybe it slid down a drain that didn’t have one of those thingeys? What do you do then? Just abandon the remaining beauty? That seems kind of harsh. One friend from Chicago said she knows a jeweler/artist who has a “lost earring” party where she claims to be able to design a necklace to accommodate the lone gem. A few months ago I lost an earring in a theater in Atlanta. My host, determined to find it, took a picture of the second earring, which had repurposed the inside of a watch, workings and all, and sent it to the house manager.
“I have it,” he texted back. A month later the errant earring came in the mail. Round? Yes. Small? Yes. But no watch workings. Close but no cigar. If someone did find the other earring I wonder what she or he is pairing it up with. Me? I’m wearing them together.
Who needs matching?
Whenever I walk into a particularly neat house I always ask the same thing, “But where’s your stuff? Where are your stacks of papers, unread magazines, unpaid bills, multiple pairs of glasses? Where are your rags?” The answer is always the same: stashed away in a drawer until company leaves.
It’s a fulltime job keeping up with all the new stuff that makes its way into a house. That’s why small houses are sometimes better. There’s only so much the four walls can accommodate. That’s why storage units are not better. In my life it’s constant editing. Deleting. Expunging. Fighting nostalgia.
Like those dishtowels. Full confession: they’re still in the passenger side of my truck. I haven’t let go of them yet.