The Great Southern Tea Towel

I think we all agree that every day for the last few months has seemed like a Tuesday. For me, maybe that’s because I’ve quit glancing at my calendar full of crossed out events and erased engagements. I’ve taken up my mother’s practice of keeping time with tea towels. 

I don’t mean the ever abundant bleached, spotted, or stained ones that are ready and designated for the many “safe-at-home” messes. Every female reader knows, some kitchen towels aren’t for culinary-cleanup. While some (maybe it’s just Wade) may call them expensive rags, I’d argue that a few dollars is a cheap price to pay for a smile amongst a tower of dirty dishes. 

It seems like forever ago when I happily pulled my bunny and chick printed towels from the Easter décor. Spring and, later, coronavirus arrived. The longer we were at home, the more I cooked. Sourdough bread, made from scratch cakes, and even frying the boys’ catch of the day were delightful experiments with the typical extensive cleanups. But there in the corner of my kitchen, hanging proudly from my oven door: a whisper of wisdom… ;).  

Be they cotton or microfiber, embroidered or printed, I embrace a diverse collection of unused “for display only” kitchen towels. I appreciate popular buffalo plaid or doodle puppy prints and “God bless your Southern mama” motifs. Currently, my oven sports the philosophical towel, “Life’s a garden, dig it.” Last week was the hospitable, “Welcome to the hive.” Too many times in 2020, I’ve reached for the encouraging, “You’re the bees knees,” or the embroidered apology, “My house was clean yesterday, sorry you missed it.” No one could doubt the practicality of a towel with common kitchen measurement conversions or the mathematical message printed in pink, “House plus love equals home.”

Before I know it, I’ll be switching out my garden towel for a harvest one. Then it’ll be pumpkins, turkeys, and a red ’49 Chevy loaded with Christmas trees. Some say to put decorative reminders in cross-stitch. Sounds tedious. I’ll stick with tea towels. 

*Feature photo by Esther Wilhelmsson on Unsplash

Author: Neena

Neena is a Kentucky wife, mother, and beekeeper. Her first novel, THE BIRD AND THE BEES, is a Christian contemporary romance available now. Visit her at