Thoughts While Ironing

I am not a domestic woman. In fact, I joke about failing Martha Stewart school. But once in a while I am either forced to be domestic, or else something small calls to me and says I can stand to do it for a while, and I get caught up in the meditation of it or the memories of the action.

I had done a bunch of laundry and ended up with a pile of ironing. I usually get my things right out of the dryer as I am not fond of ironing. However today I had a pile of dinner napkins and linens that I had cleaned (a rare occasion) along with a beautiful white dress for Alanna, and a few things for myself.

I heated up the iron, started to work, and the wrinkles were not coming out. Ah, yes, I needed water for the steam. As I continued to iron, I remembered my mother's bottle that she put water in. It was an ordinary detergent bottle, but she had this little red top with holes, like on a watering can, and the bottom had cork on it so that it would custom fit into the bottle. I don't know if they sold these as a set, or if you bought the top to fit in your own bottle, but this was what she used to sprinkle the clothes with water before ironing. I am guessing that in the 50-60's there were no steam irons. She did that for years.

I also remember my mother ironing all my father's white shirts. Endlessly. When it came time for the handkerchiefs she was tired, and was all too willing to let me stand on a box and iron them.

As a small child I put so much love into ironing his handkerchiefs. I wondered if he could feel all that love in his pockets. Maybe he would be nicer to me and think of me when he took them out. I ironed them into quarters, patted them with my little hand and took joy in the process.

Then there was the time that my mother was ironing and I watched her put the iron down and start to cry. She said President Kennedy had just been shot and he died. I did not understand much of that, but for my mother to cry, it must have been bad.

I smiled when I ironed Alanna's dress, all those little pin tucks and ruffles and lace. I imagined her in her curly blonde hair and blue eyes running all over the place in it at the last party, and how she ate watermelon, the juices running down her arms and onto her dress till it turned light pink. It all came out in the wash, and is ready for the next party.

I thought about life and how messy it gets sometimes, and if we have the right attitude we can make it as white as snow, and with a bit of effort can iron out the wrinkles.

Out of an ordinary chore came some extrodinary memories and musings, and it is all good.



Anonymous said…
This post made me all warm and fuzzy inside after a very long day. Thank you for posting this.

xoxo to you and my Goddaughter,
sue said…
Hey Pootie-I haven't been here in awhile & then I come & read tonight, and it's exactly what I needed to hear-thank you for that! My mother had the same sprinkler thingy on top of a tall glass bottle, and the fridge always had sprinkled wet clothes in it, waiting to be ironed:) I haven't thought of that in years!
Judy V. said…
We've come along way baby! Still there is something satisfying about ironing, the steam, the smell the nicely pressed clothes that say someone loves me.
Anonymous said…
Your description of ironing the hankies and patting them with your hands, doing it with love... That was beautifully described! Hoping for your dad to feel you, to appreciate you...

I love reading your blog because you express joy and pain intertwined with the facts and hopes of life.

Amber Dawn
megan said…
Well now I know where my finely tuned domestic skills come from. Remember ironing Sarah's dress right before the wedding in the hotel and everyone was giving suggestions on how to do it? Well, I was the moron who put a blazing hot iron on a rayon dress, and everyone thought it would melt, but it poo poo!

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