Friday, August 16, 2013

The Right way to do Laundry

David and I are doing laundry at my parents' place. It’s such a lovely day that we decide that we’re going to hang the clothes on the line to dry. After about 5 mintues, from within the house, I hear shrieks from my female relatives.  My mother, Granny, Gran and Aunt Bea are all in the kitchen.  My Mother’s voice assaults me from across the deck.

“Heather!  What are you doing?” my mother yells to me.

“I’m hanging up the laundry.”

“You don’t hang up laundry that way!”

“Pardon me?”

“You don’t hang up laundry that way!”

“What way?”

“One sock, one towel, one t-shirt…”


“You have to hang things up in groups.”


“You have to hang things up in groups.  All the t-shirts, all the socks, all the underwear…”

“Who says?”

“It’s just the way it’s done!”


“Because it makes a nicer looking clothes line.”

“What, are the laundry police going to come out and give us a ticket?”

“Don’t you get smart!”

“All I want to know is who decided that this was the way laundry has to be dried?   I mean, does it dry faster your way?”

“You are not too old for the wooden spoon young lady!”

My mother still threatens me with the wooden spoon.  If I swear in the house, she’ll threaten.  If I’m too sarcastic, she’ll threaten.  If I make a face …  you name it, if I’m 'sassy,' she’ll bring out the spoon.  The thing is – I don’t actually remember her ever using the wooden spoon. I just remember hearing about the spoon.

Let me give you an idea about the type of person my Mom is.  She is the classiest woman I know, even when she’s leg wrestling.  My husband challenged her to a match and she kicked his ass!  She’s one of my best friends.  Not everyone has the privilege of having a friendship with their mother.  I do. Not only do I get along with her – I actually choose to spend time with her, especially when she’s singing obnoxiously at the top of her voice “I am the CHAMPION!  I AM THE CHAMPION!!”  And then doing her half-assed attempt at a fist pump.   

And you know, no matter how old I am, no matter how much knowledge I have, my Mother will always know more than I do.  Because she did it all first.  And I’ll always turn to her and ask for her advice.  Sure, the details of the advice may not be exactly what I want to hear, but I know that regardless of generation gaps and differences of opinion, a lot of these things that she tells me?  Are exactly what I need to hear.   And what’s scary?  It really does make a nicer looking clothes line.
*This piece is an excerpt from my show How to Leave Adolescence at 30 written in 1999.  As I stumbled about in our laundry room this morning - it seemed appropriate.

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