On a blue-sky morning with a delicious summer breeze, don’t you want to hit the beach?
Me, too. (Sigh.) Instead, I meet our clean-underwear quota.
I remember clotheslines with chorus lines of jigging jeans. Wind-chubby, upside-down shirts. Billowing sheets sailing in a heavenly sky-ocean. My siblings and I flitted in and out of a blue-and-white world.
As I stuff wet laundry into the dryer, yesterdays hover like butterflies.
We were crazed moths, drawn to clean laundry like a flame. Fresh from the playground, we plopped into laundry baskets. The clothes didn’t mind grassy, muddy hugs, but Mom did.
We despised bedtime, but clean sheets’ sunny smell reminded us we could play outdoors tomorrow.
When I helped Mom, clothespins chomped my fingers like miniature monsters. A determined little laundress, I learned to pinch them instead.
Everyone possessed a clothesline, then. For big families like ours, every day was a potential wash-and-dry day — if the sun appeared. Sometimes, he’d shine while we filled lines with clothes, then played hooky. Worse, he conspired with rowdy, storm-cloud friends, who gleefully doused a morning’s hard work. When the sun left for Florida in December, clothes morphed into stiff, frozen aliens that refused to fit into a basket.
No wonder we — and much of America — greeted dryers with enthusiasm. Clotheslines became an endangered species.
Recently, however, their number has increased, mostly for ecological reasons.
Despite her neighborhood association’s rules, Susan Taylor of Bend, Oregon, set up a clothesline. She became the star of a neighbor’s covert photographing sessions. Even after Susan screened her offensive laundry behind backyard trees, then a curtain in her open garage, the association filed a lawsuit against her.
Susan and others nationwide won their point, though, because Oregon and 18 other states now ban bans on clotheslines.
I don’t own one, mostly because Hubby’s too busy to install it. But I’d like to fulfill our clean-underwear quota with a clothesline, hanging them behind sheets, as Mom taught me. I could return to that heavenly, blue-and-white world, then snuggle at night into sun-kissed sheets smelling of a fresh tomorrow.
Unlike Susan, I live where people care more about each other than the way they dry clothes.
Her neighborhood’s dirty laundry has been aired all over the Internet. I wonder … have they learned to be neighbors yet?
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you ever used a clothesline?