Thursday, March 4, 2010

One Hundred Things My Mother Taught Me A Million Times - Chapter 29

2008 Texas Biennial Disability Report
#29 – “Old towels make great dishtowels when they get thin and ragged.  Old dishtowels make great dishrags when they get thin and full of holes.  Old dishrags should be used for working on cars and washing machines when they get too thin for washing dishes.  Never throw away old towels.”

The above lesson that my mom taught me a million times could be a little confusing without some interpretation – or perhaps a glossary:
The towel in question is that with which you dry your body after a bath or shower, or rather “dab” your body, which helps preserve those oh-so-precious natural oils that we so assiduously scrub off.
A dishtowel is that with which you dry dishes, if you live in the stone age and don’t have a dishwasher that dries them for you.
 A dishrag, not to be confused with the dishtowel, is that with which you wash your dishes. Again, this is assuming that you have neither a dishwasher nor the ScotchBrite Heavy Duty Sponge Scrubbers, which I prefer, but which my daughter claims are a harbinger of deadly and nasty germs.
A rag  is so lowly it doesn’t even rank a name, but that being said, we all need them. I’ll bet you have rags! I have rags. We all got rags.

So, the evolution of the towel, according to Willie (mom), is bath towel to dishtowel to dishrag, to something with which someone (not me), would use to wash their car or work on their washing machine. I honestly don’t recall the last time I worked on my washing machine.

This maximum utilization of the bath towel from birth to death is but one other example of the frugality and lack of  what we’ll call “squeamishness” that are the hallmarks of mom’s existence. You’ve heard me mention before the “natural resistance” bred into the Wade family genetics. The basis of which being, always make sure you're "dirtier" than the threatening germs. Our germs will kick your germs butts! Click on Read More  - I'm getting to the point quickly - I promise ...

But back to the towel nee dishtowel nee dishrag, nee generic rag lesson. I don’t know about you but I get a little sentimental about my towels. Towels seem to mark milestones in my life – the pink ones an ill-advised redecoration of the front bathroom - the tan ones covered the seats in my car back when I used to let my dogs go everywhere with me (I sort of miss those days)  – the red beach towel commemorates a particularly memorable trip to the coast – the really ugly, threadbare one belonged to my daughter when she was in college and I just can’t seem to part with it.

So perhaps mom’s lesson #29 is really as much about memories as it is about money. She was right, never throw away old towels.



  1. This is very funny. Now, I know why I never get any contagious illnesses. When others suffer from the flu, I barely sneeze. Wade genetics!!! Love, Jane (your niece, Willie's healthy grand daughter)