A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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September 2006, vol 2 no 3

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Clyde Glandon

Assisted Living

When we were in grade school my sister and I usually dried the dishes after evening meals in our home. It was a common task which was part of the life of the family. We cleaned our rooms by ourselves, and had individual chores, but we were in the same room together when it was time to dry the dishes.

Sometimes there would be the need for a new tea towel, as one got too wet. I don't remember what things that either we or our mother would speak of. Yet we did this quite often as I recall, in all seasons.

I have no memories of arguments around those tasks, just the getting done of those domestic functions without much ado. I don't remember anxiety, concern, hurry, or difficulty. Nor, of course, any kind of dramatic gratification or exhilaration in such activities. It was so simple, I wonder that I remember it at all.

And so it is for other family tasks that come to us in later years, with seemingly more important rites of passage. We walk through them as if we were walking back and forth across the old linoleum, taking dishes from the dish rack and placing them in the cupboard.

Then to sit with our mother and father for a time on the screened in porch in the dark, listening to the radio, as the Athletics go through three different pitchers before the Cleveland Indians are finished batting around the entire batting order Joe DeMaestri Cletus Boyer Gus Zernial three and out thunder comes and rain all around us on three sides so that we need to turn up the radio which now has its own additional noise of static and the game is long.

We go up to our different rooms and sleep in the humid Kansas night while June bugs thump the screens ...

rain delay—
the night game
fades in and out