Anybody got a clothesline that I can borrow?

Published 5:23 pm Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Anybody got a clothesline I can borrow? Our dryer went “kapooey” and, unfortunately, it had a barrel full of washed and wet clothes. I didn’t have enough quarters for a laundromat.

First of all, I probably need to define what I mean by a clothesline. Ours was out in the backyard. It wouldn’t be appropriate for the neighbors to see our “personals” hanging on a line for all the world to see.

Linens and towels, blue jeans and shirts might have been okay, but not “personal stuff” if you know what I mean.

Email newsletter signup

The Bible doesn’t say it per se, but it alludes to the “parts (or clothes in this case) that are unpresentable and treated with special modesty,” or hung on the clothesline out of sight.

We had two pecan trees in the backyard and, between those two trees, Daddy tied a wire. Actually there were two parallel wires because we had enough clothes and other stuff to need more than one line. We were a prosperous, “two clothesline” family.

When Momma washed in the washing machine, which happened to be electric and not one of those old-timey ones with wringers, it was on the back porch. I won’t try to explain what a wringer is.

The clothes were taken from the washer and placed in a metal pan that Momma still has.

It’s probably going to be a battle to get that old pan from my brother or sister when Momma goes on to Glory, but it’s mine.

By the way, there is another item from the old washing days that she still has. It’s a stick, smooth now from over 60 years of punching clothes down in the washer. It’s an heirloom that probably is worth less than a penny to anyone not in our family, but worth the world to us. I want it, too.

I guess most of the time Momma was the one who hung the clothes on the line, but she also drafted us boys to do it every now and then. I didn’t really appreciate it then, but as I mentioned at the beginning of this column, I’d like a clothesline today.

A few times, before we would be heading out to the fields and the time would be 6:30 in the morning, Momma might hand me the metal pan and say, “Go hang these on the clothesline.”

I didn’t mind, but hoped that the rest of the crew, especially the boys who would be working with us, would not see me hanging out clothes.

The clothes pins were wooden. You know the kind and you can still buy them today. We use them to clamp together potato chip bags after they have been opened. For your information, don’t expect the modern wooden clothes pins to be as good as the ones way back then.

The bag that held the wooden pins had a way of hanging on the clothesline either right in front or right behind where you stood to hang the clothes. Just slide the bag along as you filled up the line.

Towels were easy, sheets were not. I never understood whether to hang the jeans by the legs or by the top.

The best part of a clothesline, by far, was taking them down and knowing that the sheets on which you would sleep that night would smell so fresh!

They can try all they want with dryer sheets and fragrances, but they will never be able to rival that freshly, dried outdoor clothesline smell!