Copyright © Cheryl Coville 2012
The basic, no frills clothesline has been a part of our life as far back as we can remember. Mom had an out-door clothesline even when we were kids. Everyone had one back then. We remember her coming back inside in the middle of winter with icy fingers, red and stiff from the cold. We remember when we camped and later at the cottage, the makeshift clothesline heavy with wet bathing suits and soggy towels.
Are you old enough to remember when Monday was the traditional laundry day? When ladies throughout the neighbourhood vied to display the whitest whites? Now, every day is laundry day. Wear something once and toss it in the machine. So easy. So deceptively easy.
We remember the heavenly scent of wind-blown laundry... especially in winter. Now, that's a fragrance that Proctor and Gamble has never succeeded in duplicating no matter how hard they try.
We've had a clothesline all our married life except for a very short time at the beginning when we were apartment captives. We had a clothesline long before it became the environmentally responsible thing to do. In the winter now, Mr. Coco uses an ancient wire drying rack by the wood stove in the basement. (Yeah, we said "Mr. Coco". We know. He's a peach!) We had an electric dryer for emergencies but after a full decade of not using it, Mr. Coco dragged it out onto the front lawn and put a big FREE sign on it and a young man was delighted to haul it off to use for his growing family.
We are shocked ... no, better make that outraged... that some communities have outlawed backyard clotheslines. Apparently, some people find them unsightly. Apparently, the sight of other people's (clean!) underwear waving in the breeze is more than some people can abide. What a shame.
We doubt 50 years from now, any kid is going to have fond memories of the family clothes dryer. But, you know, stranger things have happened. Maybe, that same kid will wax poetic about the Spring Fresh dryer sheet scent of the still-warm laundry ... while the poor, old planet takes its last wheezing breath. Who knows?