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The Daily Dishtowel - 6 Apr 2020

Monday, April 06, 2020

My grandmother lived in the same house from 1934 until she died in 2008. She not only insisted on being independent, she WAS independent, living in a tiny village in upstate New York,* on her own after my grandfather passed away. Six-foot snowfalls in mid-winter didn't faze her. She finally relented and got a snowblower to replace most of the shoveling, but otherwise, she managed on her own. Same in summer: she tended the flower beds, mowed the lawn, planted vegetable gardens, hung her laundry out to dry.

*Don't be thinking Albany. Think in terms of the St Lawrence River, Watertown, and the Tug Hill Plateau. If we'd been forty miles farther north, we'd have been Canadian.

We all lived out of state, with no one closer than 400 miles. Somewhere in her 80s she made an arrangement with the people who lived across the road. When she got up in the morning - always at the crack of dawn - she'd hang a dishtowel on her storm door. The people across the road knew that as long as the daily dishtowel was visible my grandmother was up and around. (Or as my grandmother would say, "They know I'm not dead yet.")

Since the whole sheltering-in-place self-isolating thing started, my daughter and I make sure to touch base frequently, even more often that we did previously. My subject line for the first message of the day is always "The Daily Dishtowel."

Mind, I'm okay with being on my own. I grew up on a farm with the nearest neighbor a mile distant, and though there were four of us (my parents and my brother and me) it wasn't as if we had a large crowd around. Before I married the first time I lived on my own for several years. When the ex-husband (less said the better) jumped ship I was on my own again, at least after the kids left home. And until Himself came along.

I was with Himself for sixteen years. His office was at the house, so people often thought we must be in each other's pockets. I never tired of his company, and I don't think he tired of mine. (If he did, he was too smart to say so, lol.) For the last four years, though, I've been on my own again, so although the self-isolation is a bit more solitary than usual, it's still not extraordinary for me.

It does make me a tad introspective, though, and as always, I will meander down Memory Lane. Today, thinking of the daily dishtowel, I went back to a much more distant time and place. Even people who live alone are not stuck within the four walls. ;-)

Carpe diem, people. You don't have to be out 'n' about to find opportunities.
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