My Clothesline Companion

Mrs. Gore learned something important yesterday…

Sometimes you think you’ve changed. Maybe become a bit more serious, a bit less playful, a bit more introverted, a bit less outgoing and sociable. A bit more grouchy. A bit less…nice.

But then the horrid, dreadful, depressing, most hot and miserable summer of the century comes to an unexpected (as in, overnight) halt and you wake up to a downright chilly breeze and all of a sudden, you find yourself skipping. Laughing. Taking the messy house by storm. Longing to play catch, for Pete’s sake. Why, you’re even…nice!…again.

I should know this about me – that the weather greatly impacts my mood – by now, but I always forget. Until Spring and Fall remind me of what a bear I had become during Summer and Winter.

Gideon thinks that since there are shortcuts, there must also be “longcuts”. That introduction up there was definitely the longcut to the story I’m really wanting to tell today. Here goes…

Mr. Gore surprised me by taking the two eldest children to work with him for a bit this morning. Which gave me the great luxury of waking up slowly, relishing the quiet morning as I burrowed deeper and deeper into my favorite feather pillow. When I finally did manage to leave that cozy bed, I took a long, hot, uninterrupted shower, and then drank my coffee slowly on the front porch with Baby Betsie in my lap. With the weather smiling at me, I became human again, and the minute…and I mean the minute!…he brought the kids home, I scooped up four or five loads of laundry, my freshly washed (but not dried) king-sized quilt, a veritable mountain of clothes to be ironed, my detergent, softener, a bag of hangers, and of course, my three kids and fled for the country. My Mom’s house to be exact.

There, we spent the entire day washing clothes, hanging clothes on the line, folding clothes, and ironing clothes. It was heavenly. Which proves that beautiful weather is transformative. Because last week, as I cursed the weather, looking for any indoor place to hang my wet clothes, feeling hemmed in and grouchy and ready to donate all of our clothes to Goodwill, doing the laundry was anything but heavenly.

Well, sometime during our heavenly laundry day, I asked Miss Sunday to accompany me to the clothesline. She put on her velcro Faded Glory floral tennis shoes and toddled behind me across the driveway and behind the garage saying “We go clothesline?” She had no idea what a clothesline was, but since I was going there, she seemed happy to go there, too.

Once there, I handed her the bag of clothespins and began tossing various items of clothing onto the line where I would come back and pin them securely into place.

“I need one.” I would tell her.

“You need one?” she asked in her sing-song voice. “Hee-doe” (Here you go).

Then she put down the bag.

“I need two more.” I said, working down the line of clothes.

“Two more?” she asked, and, bending over to pick her bag back up, retrieved two clothespins from the bag. “Hee-doe.”

Then she put down the bag.

“Two more, please.” I said.

“Two more?” she asked, picking up her bag and picking out two more pins. “Hee-doe.”

Then she put down the bag.

A wet shirt blowing in the wind lightly slapped her on the face as she stood back up. “Ooohh,” she giggled. “Dat feel good! Dat cold!!” She gathered her chubby little hands under her chin and giggled. And I died a little.

We worked our way all the way down the line, me pinning all the white clothes up next to the load of darks and the king-sized quilt that had already been hung to dry earlier in the day, she picking up and putting down her bag of clothespins, handing me the requested amount in-between.

I put the last pin on the last undershirt and turned to look at my precious toddler-sized doll.

“All done, Rebekah!” I exclaimed. “We did our work.”

“All done?” she repeated. “We did our work?”

But instead of following me back toward the driveway, she darted behind the quilt. “Come…get me!” she sang out, challenging me to a game of hide-and-seek. I jumped around the side of the quilt. “I found you!” I said. She gathered her chubby little hands under her chin and giggled again. And I died a little again.

I hid behind my favorite black shirt and waited until she ran by. I jumped out in front of her. “Here I am!” I shouted. She gathered her chubby little hands under her chin and belly laughed. And I died a lot.

We continued to play, weaving in and out of the long rows of wet clothes, laughing when we came face to face. The refreshing breeze joined in our fun, whipping our hair, tickling our necks, carrying our laughter down the driveway and to the neighbor’s house…

“Heavenly laundry day”? No…working and playing alongside my daughter in the first days of a new season was something akin to Paradise.

With her giggles in my ear and beautiful weather at my back, I could conquer the world…

Or at least four or five loads of laundry and a veritable mountain of ironing.

2 thoughts on “My Clothesline Companion

  1. Leslie, you have done it again!!!I love your stories and how only you can tell them. Keep up the good work. It is obviouis you really love you mission in life and you are a fine example of motherhood and pastors wife.

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