CPR Section House

CPR Section House

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Perfect Day

I have always been a fan of clotheslines . It was a major element of laundry day when I was growing up. There were no alternatives for us. What was a clothes dryer? The folding wooden rack used in winter to thaw and dry frozen clothes next to the wood stove . Salt in the second rinse water didn't always work .  Or the line , stretched out from the clothesline stand pole out back to the pole at the edge of the bush .

Every time Laundry Day approached - yes, there was an assigned day when using a wringer washer and rinse tubs- we would look to the skies  and cross our fingers for the 'Perfect Day'.
 Blue skies filled with puffy white clouds and a brisk wind that would fluff to softness and dry things quickly . Such a day meant that the washing and drying would be done before noon . The perk was that there would be little to iron when it was done.

Every item was arranged to catch the wind : pants hung by the waist with the zipper to the wind ; shirts by the hemline with the front open to the wind ; work socks on stretchers secured with a pin ; underwear by the back of the waistband ; and sheets ,folded in half and suspended by the hem.

 As the wind blew away the moisture , the laundry would begin to inflate.  At first a little and then a lot- like so many exotic kites anchored by pins . And the lighter they became , the more these pins struggled to hang on to the line . Occasionally, one would fail under the stress, two halves flying in different directions . The little spring left dangling on the wire .

When the towels stopped snapping loudly and the clothes puffed just right , supple in their dance with the wind , we ran to haul it all in before they ceased to be kites . Just laundry strewn among trees and grass. Fighting the force , we pulled the line to retrieve pins and clothes. But always first , when we touched the softness that the wind whipped into the fabric , we pulled the cloth to our face . And we savoured that softness and the lungs full of the fresh clean scent .

As we made our way down the clothesline , carefully folding each thing into the basket , Sis and I grew excited as we approached the first things hung on the line three loads ago . The weight on the line decreased during the removal process ,so the wind's presence increased proportionately . Those first items , the sheets , billowed like sails . Such force against our young arms as we struggled and laughed when the sheet caught 'big air' and lifted us off our feet . It was so exhilarating !

Only two were ever hung at the beginning of each lineful of laundry . A real treat at the end of the line. Then the next three loads , preceded by the two obligatory sheets , were hung up in anticipation of the next ride on the wind.

That is the memory that comes to mind every time I hang things on the clothesline out back ...yearning for the perfect day.


thepowmill said...

Now that it is cool and environmentally sound , hanging clothes on clotheslines is making a comeback. However , I find it a little amusing if understandable , that the skill of hanging clothes must nowadays be taught. I found just the posting on this website .


Anne said...

I do remember how wringer washer and put rubber diapers through that wringer diapers and explodes and I ruined a couple of shirts
Did you ever get anything caught in a wringer?or ruined a couple of shirts?
an article of the wash may
wrap several times around a roller before it is noticed; unwinding such a
piece is often difficult, sometimes impossible without removing a roller.

thepowmill said...

Anne you are so right about that . No one could own a wringer machine and not experience those things . I love the 'exploded diapers'. We used to try and catch water inside pillowcases just to see the erratic sqirting as the ball met wringer. If you had to do it , it may as well have been fun . Thanks for the comment.