“”I’ve brought you something from Paris”.
She wiped the gray dust of Paris from her valise. Unfastened the buckles. Out tumbled yards and yards of linen.
“This is what I found the second time I went to the Sunday Flea Market. It’s métis – tea toweling. It’s made to the exact width and all you have to do is cut along this woven line in the weave and voila you have your towel.”
I caressed the fabric, feeling the glazed finish that protected the fibers.
“It’s beautiful. There’s enough fabric to make a set of four tea towels.”
The fastidious French kitchen required tea towels to be in sets of four, each with a loop for hanging. The quartet of towels were used for separate tasks – hands, glassware, dishes and cutlery.
The well appointed French kitchen had a towel rack with four hooks. Each hook labeled for the corresponding towel.
“Mains, verres, couteaux and vaisselle” said my well-traveled friend. “You’re clever with a needle. Embroider your initials in red. If you ever send them to the blanchisserie (laundry) you identify your tea towels.”
I will cut and sew and embroider my tea towels. I will hang them from loops in my French butler’s pantry. I will take joy, much joy in the simple beauty of a tea towel.