Friday, July 20, 2012


One of my brothers has a wife and three kids. Around the time he married, he uttered a profundity that went something like, love means doing the dishes together. It struck me as a great example of what it means to commit your life to a person. It's in the everyday mundanities that love is found. The rosy bits are nice too but as special treats along the way.

My parents did the dishes together every night after dinner. It was one of their relationship rituals along with closing their bedroom door to their four kids each night when dad got home from work so they could catch up for some uninterrupted adult conversation before the family dinner and bedtime work began.

They strengthened their relationship through their kitchen conversations, daily midday lunchtime check-ins and evening gossip sessions in the sanctuary of their room. They had met at a ball and never stopped dancing together. They also shared a love of entertaining and hospitality that gave them a reputation amongst my friends as hosting the best parties in Blackburn, which are spoken of to this day.

All that ended earlier this year. My dad died suddenly in February and my family are still working through our grief at his passing and trying to adjust to life without him. It's bloody tough. As an adult child I've found that there's an expectation that I'll just get on with things as if it was sad but over and done with now and I'm supposedly old enough to not really let it affect me that much and that I should be o.k. six months down the track.

To that I say, bullshit! Doesn't matter how old you are, losing a parent is terribly painful and I'm not o.k. about it at all. It has been the worst thing that has ever happened to me. Losing one of the people that not only helped bring me into the world but knew me like no other and loved me like no other is devastating.

My mum has lost her partner of 47 years and watching the pain she is enduring at losing a loving relationship makes for a double whammy of grief;  I have a deep feeling of powerlessness at not being able to offer her solace in the same way as the one person that could - Dad. I know many of you know what I'm talking about.

But, Song 7 is as much a celebration of a good, committed relationship as it is about loss. Inspired by taking a break from writing those "10 songs in 6 hours" to do the dishes. If there was one song out of the ten I would spend some time editing, it is probably this one. It took 40 minutes to write and needs quite a lot of work, but it's one that I reckon really deserves more time and a good edit.

CHORDS: A repeated chord progression with a descending bass line.


Washed the pots and the pans
The plates that we ate from last night
There's no-one to dry up
So I leave them to drain on the sink

When I was a kid
And the table was cleared after dinner
Mum would fill up the sink
Dad would pick up a tea towel

He would stand and dry
As she cleared all the dirt form the dinner plates
They would take their time
Husband and wife
In their kitchen sink life

I'm waiting for James
To come home from another day working
I've been sitting all day
Fiddling about on guitar

When dad would come home
He'd go straight to his bedroom and change
As he hung up his clothes
Mum would lie on the bed and listen to his AMP tales

He would close the door
Lock out four children and speak like two adults
They would share the floor
Husband and wife
In their kitchen sink life

My mum called on Friday
She said, "I've had another hard week.
I know it's only been five months
But Helen, I miss him more than I can speak
I"ve washed the pots and the pans
The plates that I ate from last night
But there's no one to dry up
So I'll leave them to drain at the end of our kitchen sink life"

He would stand and dry
As she cleared all the dirt form the dinner plates
They would take their time
Husband and wife
In their kitchen sink life



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