Susan B. and Terah Van Dusen

Susan B.

Response Piece


Terah Van Dusen

Inspiration Piece

                   The Father-Daughter Kitchen

It was a small father-daughter kitchen; with one window above the sink looking out into a lush green lot where there were rabbits in cages, wild doves in myrtlewood trees, and geese and ducks and things all kinds of living things. The small trailer window fogged at night and I’d kidperch up on the olive countertop to write things on the window with my bare fingers: smiling faces, peace signs, my name, mad, antsy scribbles, spirals and hearts. The walls of the kitchen were bare. The refrigerator was small and maybe didn’t even work. But that was all okay. It was still the father-daughter kitchen. It was where we boiled water for the bathtub. Where we drew up plans for the future. Where we discussed religion and Dad read to me. There was hope in that kitchen. I did my homework there.

In the living room was a framed school photo of me that would eventually burn up in a fire on Thanksgiving day. In the bathroom the Lord’s Prayer hung on the wall, a wooden vintage piece reading: Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name thy kingdom come thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven give us this day our daily bread and forgive…           

We used kerosene lanterns and camp chairs. My Dad was just twenty-four but was playing Mom with our square, aluminum-legged kitchen table and generic plastic red and white checkered tablecloth bought on clearance. We had candlelight for both practical and spiritual purposes. There was no electricity. There were two dinner plates and two forks and two tan paper towels folded in half for napkins. It was the days when things were real good for the both of us. I’m not the only one who remembers it. He remembers it too. Cleanliness is next to godliness he used to say back then. It was probably summer time. It was always summertime in the father-daughter kitchen. We sang Hare Krishna and worshipped Jesus too and everything my Dad said and did stuck to me like honey. In between Dad-sermons, I would ask questions about my mother to which he would respond politely and vaguely.