Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fresh From Grandma's Clothesline

Good Morning!

We've had some unusually wet weather lately, and the fields & pastures that surround our home are green and lush. We've been sleeping with the windows open at night, and many mornings we awake to the smell of fresh rain.

After so many years of drought, this is a remarkable blessing. I have a newfound appreciation for the moisture, and greet each shower with joyfulness. For the past few days, the combined scents of rain, green grass, and fresh air have seemed so familiar to me, yet I couldn't quite remember why.

Yesterday, I awoke with a jolt of recognition. Laundry fresh from the clothesline. Ahh... I remember!

In my childhood, everyone I knew had a clothesline. In spring, summer & fall, they were used daily. My grandma washed by hand in a wringer washer in her basement, then stepped outside to a handy wire clothesline. The sturdy wires stretched from her back step the entire length of her back yard. She always kept her clothespins bag hanging from a hook beside the back door, and slung it across her body from shoulder to waist as she stepped outside, screen door clanging behind her. She would deftly hang the clean clothes on the wires, shaking out wrinkles, carefully pinning them in place with wooded clothespins, and turning the crank to roll the line away. I can still hear the repetitive sounds of her work: "Snap, click, creak, squeak... snap, click, creak, squeak..."

The clean clothes would flap in the breeze, hovering over grandma's garden. Nearly her entire backyard was filled with vegetables & flowers, with just a narrow path of grass leading to the back alley.

An hour or two later, the chore would be repeated in reverse. She'd enter the house with a basket of fresh, clean, dry, laundry, and leave with a another load of wet clothes.

Late at night, she'd tuck me into bed between crisp, clean sheets, snuggled under a quilt or chenille bedspread, head resting on a down pillow she'd made when she lived on the farm. After a hug, a kiss, and a bedtime prayer, she'd quietly shut the door. As I lay in bed, my sun burnt and bug-bitten skin fresh from a bath, cushioned by the soft bedding, the scent of clean laundry would envelop me, and sooth me to sleep.


Although I can't reproduce the lush beauty of Grandma's backyard garden, we really need to figure out good place to hang a clothesline. No amount of "Bounce" or "Downy" can replicate that heavenly scent. Plus, a clothesline is environmentally friendly, causes less wear & tear on clothing, and would be a really great way to safely dry our precious quilts!

The top photo is courtesy of Wikimedia.