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Beyond dry laundry: The clothes line circus

May 14th, 2010 | Category: Columns

by Bobbi Kelley

There is something amazing about the smell of spring. I am never able to quite describe the smell. It’s fresh and light. Pleasing and tantalizing. It seems to bring this feeling of urgency to me each year.
There is a need to get the strings up on my clothes line and put it to good use. The need to smell Spring on my clothes, as well as in the air, is almost unbearable, which can sometimes  lead to a clothes drying circus.
As a young girl, not once did I think I’d join a clothes drying circus, but here I stood out under my clothes line hanging out my daily wash. (Which, mind you, amounts to more than a basket or two. Heck, I have more than a kid or two.  Six to be exact. It doesn’t matter that one has moved out since my remaining five make more than their share, and really, we all know wives say their husbands are like kids.) I kept glancing at the sky wondering if I’d gone mad. The clouds were black as night with just a hint of blue sky peaking through. I just had to giggle as I picked up the pace a bit. If only I could get them up fast enough I might get a few dry before the rain hit. Just then a sprinkle or two dropped from above, and I realized how funny it is… the love for my clothes line. I’d gladly join the laundry circus just to have spring air on my clothes. If you have a clothes line, you know what I am talking about. If you don’t, you really should get one!
The circus goes a little like this: Clothes are on the line, it begins to sprinkle, looks like a downpour is coming so you race out and pluck all the laundry from the line. About the time you get half the line emptied, the sun breaks free from the clouds and you smile a grand smile, shrug a bit and hang it all up again. You replay this same charade about four times throughout almost any early spring day.
For some reason the thought never occurs to you, it might be crazy. There is something about owning a clothes line that just gets in your blood. It’s almost like fishing; you just have to do it, no questions asked. There is something incredibly rewarding about bringing the day’s wash indoors with the fresh scent of spring clinging to them. Folding them is enjoyable, and for me, thought provoking.
The sweet smell brings thoughts of my Grandpa, who built my clothes line. Each pole has four welded eyes. Back when I was a brand new mother, he said I’d be needing it someday. He’d made it a four stringer, “‘cause you’d need it someday.” Well, my Grandpa wasn’t a man of many words. For the longest time I actually thought “hmph”  was a word. But I’ll tell you this, his words he spoke that day were true.
A clothes line is certainly something everyone should have and experience. There are many days I need that four stringer. It serves a purpose, and I’m pretty sure it goes beyond dry laundry.

Bobbi Kelley was born and raised in eastern Whatcom County. She and her husband are raising their five children on their small hobby farm. She enjoys photography, gardening and home life.

One Comment to “Beyond dry laundry: The clothes line circus”

  1. Mary says:

    Bobbi your article is exactly why I got a couple clothes drying racks. Every time I wanted to use the clothesline it looked like rain. So I started hanging my clothes on racks on my front porch which has a roof so a few sprinkles really won’t hurt any thing and also I have a three season room off the back which is just perfect for placing bigger items and personals that I don’t want hanging on the front porch in case of company.

    Using these racks I still get the spring smell and the money savings, yet I don’t need to be near as weather vigilant.

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