Washing Dishes

Carol A. Hand

Dear Sherri
I doubt that you remember
Billings Montana in August
Air filled with smoke
from the fires burning
just beyond the ridge
But I think of you fondly
almost every time
I stand by the sink
doing dishes
I remember our laughter
in a bar after a long day
when you were among the few
to treat me like a friend
even though I carried the heavy
isolating distinction of keynote speaker
at the BIA human services conference
Others looked at us
our tears streaming as we laughed
while you recounted stories
about your nosy neighbors
who reported you for feeding deer
a nuisance to their sculpted yard
and your creativity and humor
watching their response to your latest prank
peeking with binoculars
through your kitchen window by the sink
to watch them watching you
through their binoculars
to surveil your latest visitors


Paper Maché Sheep – Microsoft WORD Clip Art


Life-sized sheep
you crafted out of paper maché
and placed in your yard
as if they were “grazing”
repeatedly moving them
when you knew the neighbors
weren’t watching
to add to the illusion
The authorities finally grew weary
of your neighbors’ fallacious complaints
and left you alone
to live as you wished
feeding wildlife you loved
I am sorry I lost track of you
after so many jobs and moves
but I will always be grateful to you
for bringing kindness and laughter
into my life
and forever brightening
the mundane task of washing dishes
as it did again this sunny morning
smiling as I remembered
Smiling Sun – Microsoft WORD Clip Art


37 thoughts on “Washing Dishes

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  1. Isn’t it strange how a person can come into your life for a brief moment, and then vanish again, and yet, they leave more of a lasting impression than many of your family members and friends you have known your entire life.

    I have people like this stored away in my memory and heart. Thanks for reminding me, Carol!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Very solid poem, Carol. It’s strange how poetry is perfectly proper (and perhaps the only way) to express certain otherwise fleeting emotions, but inappropriate for others. (I could not imagine a poem that encapsulated or even approached my feelings about Donald J. Trump, for example.) Your genuinely human thought is matched by your genuinely expressed poetry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is always a gift to hear from you, DK. Thank you so much for your kind words and thoughtful insights about poetry. Your feedback means a lot given your studies of poetry (and so many other topics). I agree that it’s a challenge to write poetry about a subject like the one you mentioned (although I did try). Sending my best wishes to you. ❤


    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Lisa. It is so true that when years pass, it is often memories of the kindnesses and connections that touch our hearts which make us smile rather than memories of past “professional accomplishments.” Kindness and laughter really do make life worth living in my humble opinion… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I would have liked her too! What a beautiful description of a friendship. I have some similar memories of people who left a mark in my life. Sometimes we can suddenly reconnect, which happened to me not too long ago…a wonderful experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for such lovely comments, Helen. I am sure Sherri would like you, as well. She is a gifted advocate for children and families. I am also glad to know you have had similar experiences. May you have many more. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s always a delight to hear from you, Nelly. I admit, lost in thought, I sometimes look up expecting to see sheep through my window. I’m not sure that was what Buddha meant, although I do try to make sure the dishes I’m washing are clean, too. 🙂


  4. Carol, on a side note, I know you are very busy; with teaching, your family, this blog, and taking care of your house and own health. So I want you to know that I have no expectations about you reading my posts. You should feel no pressure, since there isn’t any coming from me!

    I post a great deal of material, and I don’t expect you to keep up with all of it. If you run across an article I have posted that you’re interested in, then read it when you can. If you don’t, then I am more than fine with that.

    I just thought I’d share this with you. If you can’t stop by my blog, I will not be offended, Carol!

    Thanks, Carol, for being you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for being so thoughtful and understanding, Dave. It’s spring break for classes, and I’ve finished my repairs for the moment. Now I am watching paint dry as I wait for contractors to finish the jobs I can’t do… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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