A Tale of Two Dish Cloths

Today's post is a copy of the letter that I received (along with two hand-crafted dish cloths and a pair of hand-knit slippers, the kind our grandma used to make) last year just before Christmas from my sister Debra. She's at it again today, on her annual shopping spree, and I can not WAIT to hear about the treasures she finds!

The Two Dish Cloths by Debra Bergman
Here's the story behind why I have lovingly wrapped these two hand-made dish cloths for you. 

     Last Saturday was the long anticipated Warner Park Holiday Craft Fair. I love to attend this craft fair each year. It is a few luxurious hours that I take for myself, that I can just browse at my leisure, walk slowly from one booth to the next wondering if I could have been creative or patient enough to have made that particular craft item or if I’ll make a purchase this year, if I’ll find that one “perfect” gift item for someone I love or even something special for me and if I do find that perfect item……will I be able to open up my wallet and remove my money or credit card to pay for it? Ah yes; the money. 
     I’ve always been very frugal; some may call me cheap but that’s another story for another day.
     There had been about 3 inches of freshly fallen snow that morning; a Currier and Ives scene outside my front porch as I sat and sipped my freshly brewed coffee and read the morning paper. Well; it’s not freshly brewed per se. Last Christmas while I was visiting my sister in Houston, she turned me on to Starbucks VIA. She would take milk and warm it in the microwave, then stir in the VIA instant and there you have it; "fresh brewed coffee." I have been doing this ever since. My morning ritual, it reminds me of her, of my visit with her last year, the fun we had and how much I love her. My husband has asked me what is to become of our BUNN coffee maker that I once cherished and used faithfully. I don’t have an answer for him. For now, it’s a nice counter top decoration.
     I have created a system for the craft fair. First, I walk around and eye up all the booths, making mental note of the crafts that I am most interested in and of course, I do a price comparison. Then, I will go back to the booths that have captured my curiosity and ask about the product, how it was made? what resources were used? and…. well… the usual and customary how much does it cost?
     There were two booths that featured dish cloths. They were my first stop, well….. my first stop on my second round. Hand-made dishcloths are my favorite kind, they seem to be the most durable and they don’t seem to acquire that weird smell as quickly as store bought cloths do. Why do dish cloths smell, anyway? A seemingly unanswerable question. This has been strange but persistent pet peeve of mine for a very long time.  Once I was told it was because they dried too slowly. So, to combat this I have a routine of wringing them out very thoroughly and hanging them on the water spout to dry. This exercise is only marginally effective, I have no idea what factors need to be present for the rag to stay smell free for longer than 2 days, and miraculously this does happen from time to time. Another theory is that the odor is caused by too much soap left in the dish cloth. Well, easy fix to that problem, simply rinse and rinse until all the soap rings out of the rag right?  Nope; still smelly the next day.  I also heard that if you stick that sucker in the microwave it would kill any bacteria that are causing the smell; I have actually never tried that one. If I’ve owned them a while and they start smelling after the second day, I simply throw them out. I figure they are beyond repair at that point, you know?
     The woman at the first booth had a vast array of dish cloths along with her other craft items. She was quick to come to my assistance when I approached her booth. She had tussled gray hair, was wearing a homemade blue scarf that tied behind her head and had quite noticeably stained and crooked teeth. As I was picking up the first of many dish cloths, she immediately and proudly announced to me that “those won’t smell” She leaned closer to me as she explained further almost in a whisper what the secret was. Yes, she explained the secret to smelly dish cloths that has been haunting me for years. So I gave her the $6.00 without a second thought.  That’s right, $6.00 for one dish cloth!!  Plus the admission fee to the craft fair. Well, you get the picture. Even though I am fiscally minded, not cheap as some might call me, it was worth it. Finally; the answer I had been seeking for many years to why it is that dish cloths smell. I know; it’s killing you!!
     Then, the thought crossed my mind that I might have you do a little scientific experiment. So I went over to the second booth that was selling dish cloths and purchased one of theirs. I’ll let you put them both to the test, use them in your own kitchen, see which one is the smell-free dish cloth and which isn’t. Is it worth the $6? The woman guaranteed it!
      The nose is a funny thing. I have heard that when people have sight impairment the olfactory sense is enhanced. Will this be true for us in our old age and with failing eyesight and all? If so, then I may have found an answer to our smelly kitchen prayers. Unfortunately, I seem to have misplaced the craft woman’s card for now. She sells these allegedly smell-free rags 6/$20 or by the case; how many do you think we will need? Perhaps I’ll see her next year at the long-anticipated Warner Park Holiday Craft Fair. Let me know how they work and which one is the smell free rag.
     Until then, happy and hopefully smell-free dishwashing with your two dish cloths!!

NOTE:  The secret, the vendor claimed, was acrylic, but sadly, neither one of the cloths passed the smell test after a few washings.  Still, the craftista was back at the Holiday Craft Fair today making the same guarantee and selling her smell-free cloths. My cheap fiscally-savvy sister, however, wasn't buying it.

1 comment:

  1. I have met your sister and I can imagine all of this! I love going to the Warner Park art craft sale too--as I seem to find many unique gifts for the people on my list.


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