Sunday, June 6, 2010

Life's Laundry

In case you aren't aware-
this is National Clothesline Week.

That means: Shut down the
ol' Kenmore,
grab a basket of wet laundry-
and head outside
for some good old-fashioned
sun-dried garment therapy.

Some of the best times I spent with my Mom
was while she hung clothes on the wire line
that Dad had strung between a heavy post
and a maple tree.

We would sit in the cool clover
and watch as Mom pulled wet shirts
from the frayed wicker basket
and slapped them into the air-
grabbing the clean, cotton corners
with wooden clothespins
and suspending them
like wispy dancers
in the summer breeze.

Her gingham bag of pins
bulged like an expectant belly at first,
then slowly deflated
as the army of bluejeans
and sock soldiers lined up
against the blue cloudless sky.

There was something quite soothing,
even as a child,
to see once soiled clothes
renewed with fresh air
and fluttering with a sweet soapy scent.

Later, when the blue jeans became stiff
and the shirts grew tired from their
fight against the honeysuckle breezes,
we helped Mom pluck them from their
temporary restraints
and fold them loosely
into a clean basket.

There were days when we rushed out
to save the laundry from unforeseen raindrops
and unexpected storms-
haphazardly ripping dresses and white sheets
from the grip of wet clothespins-
tossing them carelessly into a bundle
to save them from a cloudburst.

When there were no clothes flapping from the line,
it was a perfect place for pitching a tent-
pulling an old woolen army blanket taught over the wire
and securing the four corners tightly.
We snuck in the shed and borrowed Dad's good hammer
and drove clothespins into the dry earth-
our substitute for a poor man's tent stakes.

There we were agin-
amid the cool clover-grass, now wet with evening dew.
We laid on our bellies in our makeshift pup tent,
watching as the fireflies gathered in the field
and the moon smiled on our special little world.

Even now, when I slip between sweet smelling sheets,
I think of my Mom.

And I can still see her silhouette amid the green grass,
her blue dress dancing in the wind
and her hair kissed by warm sunshine-
as she adorns the clothesline
with garments of our life...