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October on Clinton-Study and Dirty Dishes

November 22, 2012

October on Clinton – Study; Oil on Canvas Panel 9″ x 12″

This was painted using a plein air work created last fall. I did this painting to reacquaint myself with this subject before expanding it to a larger format.

Thankful for Dirty Dishes

Today was Thanksgiving. We were invited to dine at my brother-in-laws’ home to join their celebration. In addition to “the usual suspects” of my wife’s family and her brother’s in-laws, there were also going to be a few of the cast members from a theater troupe (people with whom my niece worked in a recent production).

As we arrived with folding chairs, a potato dish and some cookies, we were given small slips of parchment paper and pencil. We were to write a small note to announce what it was for which we were thankful. These small pieces of paper were then placed into crescent roll dough prior to the rolls being baked.

Once all the food was ready to eat, we moved through the buffet line and filled our plates before sitting down at tables to eat together. As we dined, the findings in the crescent rolls routinely interrupted the general conversations. People would open up the parchment notes and read the proclamations and then a guessing game ensued to determine who wrote which message. There were the notes to be expected such as, “thankful for family and friends”, “thankful for the feast”, there was even a note of thanks for “Johannes Gutenberg for the invention of the moveable printing press and for his great, great, great, great, great, great grandson, actor Steve Guttenberg” (good one Nick).

Then one came up that caused an stir, “Thankful for dirty dishes”.  My wife started to snicker and people quickly realized that this note was mine. Comments were made about it being silly nonsense and what a shame that I didn’t take this seriously. My sister-in-law then sincerely asked “Why dirty dishes”? I responded that this simple note held much for which we should be thankful. She invited me to explain.

Dirty – recognizes that at one time food had been on the plates. From the farmers that raised the crops, the processors that prepared the food for shipment, transportation systems which efficiently delivered the food to grocery stores, plentiful food supplies at our stores not subject to rationing, employment to allow us to purchase these items with minimal sacrifice, appliances in our homes for storage and preparing the food to allow us a hot meal, the talented hands that put all the elements together to nourish our bodies.  Many areas of the world are not able enjoy these conveniences which we too often take for granted. It also recognizes our health and our ability to enjoy this feast.

Dishes – recognizes our possessions. We had place settings and silverware, a table at which to eat, the comforts and protection of a heated home. We were able to eat in safety without threat of violence.  Dishes is plural. It also recognizes that we were dining with others, not alone. Many people, too many, find themselves alone or lonely. We were able to enjoy the company of those we hold dear and to enjoy the gift of meeting new friends.

I concluded by noting that our hosts would be very thankful for help in cleaning up after our feast. And they were.

May we always find that we are able to be thankful for dirty dishes.

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