So when I was young and single (clean, tidy, organised and unstressed), a friend of my parents would give me tea towels every time I saw her. I found this very strange, very strange indeed.
They would be of the most random colour, type or cloth. Just lots and lots of tea towels. I, being a well brought up young lady, would thank her graciously and state, “Thank you so much, I am in need of some new tea towels.” On returning home, I would hide them at the back of the kitchen cupboard and look at my own nice, colour coordinated, pristine tea towels and shake my head in wonder.
What on earth did this woman do to her tea towels, that she felt the need to buy me so many? I only ever dried clean dishes with my tea towels, I had had them for years. They matched the colours of my kitchen, I would never ever have a clashing tea towel.
I had children and a husband.
Now I have a cupboard full of mismatched, stained, torn, random tea towels.
They are used to wipe up mud, paint, glue, glitter, nail varnish, make up, grease, tomato sauce, fruit juice…. you get the picture. We seem to go through at least 5 a day. I find them all over the house. Sometimes I find them floating on a puddle of spilled drink – someones effort at cleaning up. Apparently tea towels are magic and will soak it all up – no wiping or rubbing needed.
I do not care what colour or what cloth they are made of. I just need tea towels, lots and lots of tea towels. When I see our family friend now and she gives me a new stack – I hug her and thank her from the bottom of my heart. I understand now.
When we have visitors, I do buy new colour matching tea towels. I display them and hope they will at least survive the day. I do try to keep up the pretense that I am that organised, calm, tidy and clean girl I once was.
If you are a young single person and I randomly give you a pile of tea towels, just know that one day you may understand. And if you pop by my house unexpectedly, please do not judge me by my tea towels, it’s not my fault, I promise.