Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hanging Clothes/Mrs. Jean Belz #3

Mrs. Belz rarely told me what to do. She made "suggestions," usually only one time. I learned to listen for them: they were few, far between and valuable.

One beautiful summer day she remarked, "This is a perfect day to hang clothes on the line."

"Done," I thought. I pulled the still damp clothes out of the dryer mid-cycle and took them to the clothesline. I hung them carefully over the line, felt accomplished and went back inside.

Mrs. Belz came over. She was suppressing a smile. "Sometimes it's easier if you use clothespins." She put an ice cream bucket of clothespins on the kitchen floor.

I left that first load out on the line. They had been nearly dry anyway when I draped them; it seemed silly to interrupt the whole natural drying process now. But for the next week, I watched the clothesline. There was an art to hanging clothes. Shirts, pants, towels, all were hung with an obvious plan inmind that went beyond draping.

After watching, I began my quest to Hang Clothes. For awhile, I found very little satisfaction in the whole thing beyond the importance of having followed Mrs. Belz's suggestion. Then I noticed that I was beginning to enjoy the process. When life got busier or came apart completely, there were my dish towels, flapping in silent testament to the fact that there was someone who knew and could keep order.

Two years after my hanging clothes started, Mrs. Belz called me. "That's a very attractive clothesline you've got out there."

I called my friend. "SHE LIKES MY CLOTHESLINE!!!"
My friend didn't miss a beat. "Marty, you've arrived."

The day after her funeral, I hung three loads of wash outside with Mrs. Jean Belz clothespins. It then rained for 2 days straight so I had to stick them in the dryer after all. But it was worth it.

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