“It is hard to choose the greater evil – preparing for a colonoscopy or ironing. I am convinced that it was ironing that spawned the nudist colony movement. When ironing found its way into my job description, I was ready to resign. I had tried it in the past with no adequate return on investment. Oh, I could iron a pair of pants nearly smooth in 45 minutes to an hour, but by that time, my attitude was wrinkled.
At first, I just took my clothes to the cleaners. Kim, the store owner, was a strong businessman. He looked like a Korean Arnold Schwarzenegger. His muscles had muscles. Sometimes, his diminutive dark-haired mother would check in the clothes. She would look at my bundle of duds with slight anxiety, then hand me her pad and pen and say, “You write!” She was long on the American spirit but short on our words. It was fun watching them push the button and see the clothes travel on the conveyor, circling the room like a Lionel train set on Christmas morning. I’m so nostalgic! I even miss the slightly scorched, steamy, stale air mixed with starch and dirty laundry. However, I have moved three hours away and have never found another laundry bestie.
I have only one pleasant ironing memory. I was riding my bike to school. It was a three-mile trek, so I stopped halfway at the neighbors’. (You just do those kinds of things in the country.) Mrs. Severns was ironing. She would heat her iron on the wood stove, iron for a bit, and then stick it back on the wood-fired burner to heat it up again. The firebox glowed with warm tones of red and blue as she stirred the fragrant oak embers. Mrs. Severns carried on a friendly conversation, prepared breakfast, and pressed daughters Susan and Sarah’s dresses in such a casual, comfortable process, not bothered at all by a 10-year-old neighbor boy’s interruption. I felt welcomed and respected; she was a wholesome and remarkable lady. The kind of woman that puts a smile on God’s face. The rest of my ironing memories sound more like they were written by Stephen King.
I learned to iron while watching my mother, and it scared me. Mom never cussed unless she was ironing. We would hear “damn, damn, damn” and know Mom had burned herself. Her arms would look like she had a cat allergy for several days after ironing. I never thought of my mother as clumsy, so I assumed ironing was dangerous. We were Baptists at the time, and I feared that if she died while ironing, she would go straight to hell.
My late wife could iron fast and effectively. It was impressive. Most of the time, she paid someone to press the threads. If I needed something ironed and no one else was there, even with her expertise, it was easier to just do it myself. You see, ironing wasn’t her preference, and being an accomplished hypochondriac, 15 minutes of ironing could easily end up as a four-hour visit to the ER. She was known as a frequent flyer by the local facility and even got Christmas cards signed by the whole staff.
I had a girlfriend once who loved doing laundry but completely refused to iron. She would wash her clothes, put one item in the dryer at a time, and knew exactly when to pull it out and hang it up so that it would finish drying without a wrinkle. I should have married her just for her laundry skills. She decided I was jealous and controlling because I wasn’t comfortable with her third ex texting a
couple of times a week and calling her a couple of times a month. She explained he only called to check on her grown children, his former stepchildren. I guess they didn’t have phones of their own. It was touching how he would call her “Sweetie” and say he would always love her, even send her kissy face emojis. I guess I am just too insecure. Maybe I could find a good therapist to help me with that.
Perhaps I should buy cheaper clothes and just throw them away when they get dirty. The problem with that is I have a whole closet full of clothes but only wear the same three or four outfits. I can’t throw those away; they are my favorites! There is no reason to throw the others away because I never wear them, so they never need ironing. What a dilemma!
I try to wear clothes that don’t need ironing. Yet on occasion, I will still spend 45 minutes pressing a shirt before I face the world. This unworthy frame is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I certainly don’t deserve the honor, so the least I can do is keep the curtains hanging as straight as possible.
In conclusion, if you make enough trips around the sun, you are going to find yourself doing things you don’t want to do, things you shouldn’t do, things you never thought you would do, and things you swear you will never do again, and again. So whatever you can do to be your best, you best do it.
(You are welcome to share if you care to. Google me for more housekeeping tips!)”
To read Any’s Book The Reluctant Batchelor find it (here.)