Dinner Dishes
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This post is part of the Annie Justin series by Thea Marx. The great-great granddaughter of Justin Boots founder H.J. Justin shares a part of her busy life between tending to horses, attending board meetings, and fixing dinner for her family.


“Mom, will you give me my spelling words,”

“Mom, I need you to sign this.”

“Mom, I have a track meet tomorrow.”

I shook my head, I could hardly keep up with the rapid fire of voices coming at me.

“Wait, one at a time, please.”

I wiped my hands on the pretty blue flowered apron that grandma had made for me for Christmas last year. The flour handprint I left smudged quickly into abstract art when I gathered all three kids in a big hug.

“Whatcha making?” came a Julia’s soft voice out of the hug.

“Baguettes for dinner.”

“Who is coming to dinner? I thought we didn’t have any water?” They all said in unison.

“The Senator and Ann,” I replied nonchalantly about our favorite neighbors.

“And we are just going to have to fake it on the water part. No telling please.”

All three looked at each other and shook their heads, “Why?” asked Aspen.

“Because….,” I answered dimly.

Our invitation had been made at least a month previous and we were lucky something in their busy schedule had fallen out so we got on their calendar. Of course, it couldn’t be a worse day: a school night, I was in the middle of working with our marketing team on a cool, Twelve Days of Christmas promo that needed my attention tonight and our well had gone out. The fact that we had no water was a biggie. Dishes. Cooking. Showers. Hmmm. We were camping out in our own home with a famous personality coming for dinner. We did have a crystal clear river running nearby that provided some relief. We were hauling water for the house much like we did in the mountains.

“Did I smell?” I wondered. My spit bath from this morning would have to do along with a blast of the pretty perfume Sam had given me.

Alas, there was no turning back. The pots and pans piled up from cooking and I carefully tried to stack them so it didn’t look like there was so many. I put out our best china, a pretty bouquet of white roses and lit the candles.

The Senator was always full of grand stories, easing our anxiousness with laughter. We managed to pull off a wonderful dinner despite our lack of H2O. I had to do my fair share of making excuses and deflecting Ann from helping with dishes, especially after she turned on the spigot only to get a fuzzy noise and spitting of empty pipes. “Hmmm,” I said, trying to sound unfazed. “The well is giving us fits. Don’t worry. I will get it.”

She protested, but I waved her off. “Sam and I will fix it,” I said casually, trying not to show the angst I was feeling inside. We had mounds of dishes.

With 8 for dinner how could there not be?

After we got the kids in bed, Sam and I looked at the stack of dishes and let out a collective groan. He tried to faucet again and got the same sputtering reply Ann had earlier. He grimaced and I knew what he was going to say was not pretty, but then his face changed and I could see an idea dawning.

“We do have a hose,” he said simply.

I finished his thought with “And the irrigation pump is still running…..”

We had our solution, as unorthodox as it was. We ran the hose through the window over the sink and filled all the big pots with water to boil, almost like we do in the mountains. Thankfully the river water was nice and clean to start with. Soon we were elbow to elbow, washing, rinsing, drying, giggling. Musing that we hoped no one had forgotten anything and came back, catching us in the middle of washing dinner dishes… this way.