Sunday afternoons are supposed to be a time of rest and relaxations. It says so in the bible. I looked it up! After getting up early to go to church at 9 and then Sunday School afterward, we would all come home and enjoy a delicious homemade meal. A perfect set up for an afternoon nap. Then dad would stand up, walk over to the refrigerator, and grab the small bowl off the top. Every Sunday us kids would moan and groan, begging for mercy, but Dad would push on. “Who wants to go first?” he would ask. His question was always followed by a choir of “Dad, do we have too?” “Can we just skip this week?” “Can we have today off?” “I’m too tired.” “Please?” But dad was nothing if not consistent. “We can sit here all day if you want but we’re going to do this whether you like it or not.” “I’ll go first” I bravely proclaimed. My dad held out the dreaded bowl of doom. Then the other three siblings would follow my lead, and the last marble was dads. “Alright you four, those dishes aren’t going to wash themselves.” Slowly, I released the small fist I made around my marble, one finger at a time to reveal… the red marble. “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I yelled. The red marble meant I would have to wash the dishes. The most coveted job of them all! Matt had the black marble which meant he would dry, and Andy was blessed with the blue marble, put away. “Bek and Dad always get the green marbles” I complained. “Do you want me to empty the cupboards so you can wash all the dishes we own” dad would offer. “No” I would respond as I made my way over to the sink. “Alright then, you three better get to work.” Mom would always offer to help every Sunday and every Sunday Dad would force her to go upstairs and take a rest. She deserved a break from washing dishes the entire week.
“Get to it then, if I hear any fighting I WILL empty those cupboards” Dad would threaten. Mom and Bek would make their way up the stairs to relax and Dad would reside at his post in the living room, in the form of a recliner to keep a watchful eye on his little soldiers.
Sadly, I looked down at my freshly manicured fingernails and knew my labor from Saturday for beauty would be ruined after this excursion. I did my best to give dad the puppy dog eye but to no avail. My fate had been decided with no one backing down. “Come on Joanna hurry up! I want to watch the game” Andy would press.
Hanging my head in defeat I made my way over to the sink and counter full of dirty dishes; I filled the sink with water and began to wash as fast as I could and then passed them to Matt for inspection. Plop! A clean dish was thrown back into my sink of hot water. “It’s not clean” Matt said. Gritting me teeth I would rewash the dish and hand it back to him. Plop! He threw it back in my sink. With the look of a thousand demons on my face I glared at my older brother, “it’s still not clean” “Well then why don’t you wash it” I would whisper as sternly as I could as to not wake dad who had just begun his slumber in the next room. “I didn’t draw that marble, so I can’t.”
And so the bickering would start. And then get louder and well, let’s just say that sometimes, the cupboards were emptied on Sunday afternoons.