I began this blog by just flinging one post out into what seemed to be infinity. It was a cold November day, and now during this never-ending hot spell, that seems eons ago. Indeed, this is post Number Four Hundred Ninety Five, and sometime this week, if the Good Lord's willin' and the creek don't rise---we'll hit #500.
It feels as if I should SAY something. I mean really SAY something---about the South mostly, but something worthwhile---not just little frivols about dessert and bubbles and where-we-went-for-lunch.
If there's anything I HAVEN'T covered, and anybody has a question (things like grits and cousins-twice-removed and barbecue sauce have been covered, I think, but I'll take a stab at any Southern Subject within reason). EVEN THE HEAT, which is even worse-than-here, and I so feel for the folks sweltering under that Southern Sun.
Summer Heat---it's a a Fact of Life in our Hemisphere, and its toll on pore and patience has been a bell-mark of Life As I Know It. Right now, it weights down the days with its 85-before-breakfast here, whereas the overbearing heat and humidity of the South of my raising has already wilted every being---collar, coif and mood, before they can get the door slammed to keep in the cool.
It’s good for the crops, if there’s rain; it’s good for swimming and other cooling activities, it’s good for drying laundry. The sight of fresh-washed clothes strung on a line, the colors and the whites bright in the sun---that’s a seldom-sight these days, and I wish I HAD a clothesline. I happen to live near two ladies-who-do, so my eye-feast of the loops and swells of the breeze-stirred clean fabric is often waiting, just over the fence. And one of them has made me free to come and hang my own spreads and blankets and sheets upon her line, whenever I like.
The feel of the house is altered and uplifted when a great armful of fluffy, wind-dried laundry is brought down the stairs---concentrated sunshine and breeze-waft just settle into those fibers and lend a restful air to the whole place. Nestling your face on a smooth, wind-blown pillowslip brings sweet dreams of meadow-walks, and waking in the night to the well-remembered scent of childhood is a momentary journey to another time and place.
The flap of the white-white expanse as you fling the sheets upward like boat-sails, smoothing them on the bed, settling them into the corners, gives an age-old bit of grace to the week, and opening the linen closet to that burst of captured memory-scent brings memories of visits to Mammaw's house, where everything was always the same---comfortable and welcoming.
When my children were babies, we didn’t have a dryer for several years. I hung diapers and tiny shirts and socks every day of the week, hoping for sunshine, and on rainy days, it was time to string the stout cord to the loops in the top corners of the “spare room” for a day-long attempt at drying. In Winter, the room was used more often than the outdoor line, with a little gas heater providing the warmth for getting all those double-hung diapers and thick, fleecy footie-jammies ready for a comfy night’s sleep.
It was work, bending and looping and shaking the wrinkles out of those wet-heavy clumps of cloth in the basket, getting the pins on straight, evening up the rows, lifting that hand-smoothed pole to elevate the lax lines when all had been pinned and secured.
Just writing this, I can smell the unforgettable freshness of those bright-white baby-clothes, washed in Ivory Snow, dried in the breeze. Picking up and nestling a little one smelling of clean clothes and that unmistakable baby scent all their own, that aura of Johnson’s shampoo and warm cotton and the fresh-milk smell of baby-necks---the memory has me smiling right now.
Does ANYONE still have a clothesline any more? Do you miss them?
And Welcome, Chris L.---Number Forty-Nine on the Followers list. So glad you could join us!