Chores make memories

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Jan 26, 2014

 

Back in the day a lot of parents used their kids as personal servants.

We didn’t question it, it was just part of life.

When my father needed me, he’d yell my name and I’d come running.

Usually it was for my main duty, fetching him the “flipper” for the TV and bringing it to where he sat in his easy chair.

The “flipper” was my dad’s name for the remote control, which usually could be found atop the table a few feet from my dad.

If he wasn’t calling for the flipper, he was usually working on a project and needed my help.

There was nothing I dreaded more. Because his usual request, made with great urgency, was for me to bring him whatever tool he needed. Usually he needed it now.

My problem was that my father had no system for tool storage. And my dad had a lot of tools. They were scattered across several long shelves in the garage. And I had to find the 7/16 crescent wrench. If that wrench wasn’t back in my dad’s hands in 30 seconds, he’d start yelling. That was never pleasant.

I had other duties besides fetching flippers and tools.

I was expected to cut the grass — which meant collecting and bagging all the clippings, then edging along the drive and sidewalk — and shovel the snow. Luckily, we lived in the snow belt.

Twice a week I had to dust all the furniture, my mom’s knickknacks, the lamps, etc. When I finished that I had to dust the baseboards where the walls joined the floor.

The task I hated most was drying dishes. I was fortunate; I rarely had to wash them. My dad almost always took care of that. But whenever he decided it was time to wash dishes, I had to drop whatever I was doing, grab a towel and come running.

And my dad decided it was “time to do dishes” at the worst possible times.

Like at the climax of that day’s rerun of “Lost In Space” on WUAB Channel 43. It was the only good station I could tune in clearly with our rabbit-ears antenna, despite the loop-and-dial to pull in UHF stations.

Virtually seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, I dried dishes. I sometimes caught a break when we ate out or visited friends or relatives and they took care of the chore. Otherwise I heard the nightly cry: “Bob! Dishes!” Always it was at the best part of whatever awesome rerun I was watching at the time. My sister would groan in empathy for me as she sat their soaking up the last few exciting minutes.

Years later, I realized the time spent drying dishes was the time when I truly got to know my father, and where my deep love for him fully developed. We’d talk about anything — fishing (which we often did), UFOs, who killed JFK, movies, my dad’s life back in simpler times, wild and embarrassing stories from his youth, World War II, his brothers’ part in the war, how he himself regretted being declared 4F due to an injury, the Cleveland Indians past and present, the Browns, and anything at all that came to mind. I discovered fully my father’s great sense of humor, his sense of justice, his compassion for others and his immense pool of wisdom. All while wiping plates.

And I also realized something else:

What I’d give to hear the call, “Bob! Dishes!” during the best part of a show today.

Comments

entitled to my ...

I look forward every Sunday to reading Bob Russ's column. This week really hit home for me. I lost my Dad many years ago, and I, too, would give almost anything to hear his voice just one more time.....

Huron_1969

Thanks for sharing Bob, great piece

obscenity

Great article Bob! Thanks.

BabyMomma

Now parents be like"bring my blunt little playa"

From the Grave

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

BabyMomma

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

From the Grave

Really? Why don't you remove the original comment then.

BabyMomma

Because I didn't attack anyone like you did. I got my second one removed because I spelled your name out.

From the Grave

I wasn't attacking you~just pointing out that since we don't know if you really talk like that for real(which is fine), one might assume that you are in fact a white man posting anonymously and are making a RACIST comment. Right?

From the Grave

I'm pretty convinced that you are in actuality a~white~male.

BabyMomma

It must be my grammar

From the Grave

And I might not really dig graves for a living.

BabyMomma

Is that what your name means? I thought you were a zombie. Jokes on me

From the Grave

Yeah, people always assume crap like that...makes me mad.

BabyMomma

Glad I could help

From the Grave

When you are an adult, you wash AND dry the dishes, every day, AFTER 8 or more hours at work.

Stop It

I would have been looking all day for a 7/16" crescent wrench because there is no such thing. Crescent wrenches are adjustable and are called out by the length of the tool rather than a bolt or nut size.

BabyMomma

I think we all knew that. I took one look at his picture and decided he couldn't tell a hammer from a rock

grumpy

Cresent is a company that makes many different types of tools... including 7/16 wrenches, screw drivers, and even the aforementioned adjustable wrench, which is, by far, the best known.

http://www.apexhandtools.com/bra...

BabyMomma

Yea, and everybody asks for their tools by brand name. "Give me my 3/8 Craftsman"

grumpy

I wasn't responding to your post, I replied to this post:

Stop It
MON, 01/27/2014 - 12:06PM
I would have been looking all day for a 7/16" crescent wrench because there is no such thing. Crescent wrenches are adjustable and are called out by the length of the tool rather than a bolt or nut size.

Stop It

Go to any hardware store and ask for a cresent wrench, grumpy. See where they take you and stop messin' around with splitting hairs.

grumpy

Splitting hairs? It is like Kleenex. The company makes more than facial tissues (including toilet paper), but when you ask for a Kleenex,you expect a facial tissue. Many companies make facial tissues, but if you ask for a Kleenex you will take whatever facial tissue you are handed, you don't hold out for the brand name Kleenex.
You are the one who claimed there is no such thing as a 7/16 cresent wrench. I simply linked to them for sale, showing there are 7/16 cresent wrenches. I don't apologize for being correct. BTW I have the set of cresent wrenches pictured, or a set containing more sizes, and a metric set.

If I went to a store that sold Cresent brand tools I would expect to be shown a 7/16 wrench made by Cresent.

Julie R.

On yet another despicable cold night, I would like to thank BabyMomma and From the Grave for the laugh. I don't know what the comments said that were removed but I found the rest of them ~ especially BabyMomma's ~ hilarious.

That said, this was an excellent article. I look forward to reading Bob Russ's column every Sunday, too.