Me and Grandma and the Laundry

In the Ozarks, any day nice enough to hang laundry is a great day in the Ozarks. Today counts as number five if I’m counting right. Great day is relative of course. It’s December. Clear skies, light breezes and moderate temperatures are what I consider a great day. The highs have been in the 40’s to 50’s. That kind of high would not make for a great day in ohh say July! But, in December it’s a really great day when combined with sunshine and little to no wind.

I’ve been able to work outside for a couple hours every day this week, and have hung laundry twice. Hanging laundry is one of my all time passions. There is a certain satisfaction that comes from getting it all neatly hung, spaced just so, pegged just right to avoid unsightly gabs in the sagging fabric. I like to sit back in my lawn chair and just look at it, as it sways, gently in the breeze.

Hanging laundry is one of the things my maternal grandmother and I always did together from as early an age as I can remember. She taught me to take one piece at a time and shake it hard to remove large wrinkles, then hand it to her by the first corner to be pegged. She would smooth out any misshapen cloth with her hands after it was up. I still go through each of those steps.

It didn’t matter what month of the year it was or what the temperature was, outside her and I would go to hang the laundry. Grandma Dall, as she was called, taught me how to hang laundry in a wet freeze. Never fold shirt tails or collars over the line because a really hard wet freeze would snap the fabric in half as if cut clean with a guillotine. She demonstrated once with an old shirt collar headed for the rag bin. Sure enough it broke right off in my hands.

For the most part I avoid hanging laundry out under wet freezing conditions but it has happened and I am very careful to make sure there are no folded corners on even a washcloth. I also avoid mid-spring when the oak pollen is falling in buckets. It’s a waste of time hanging laundry in that circumstance. It turns green. Mid-summer is a difficult time for hanging laundry also. If you don’t get it on the line early enough it will have to hang into the dew fall of an eve and sometimes dew can be harsh on skin. Besides that your laundry will head toward being dry then absorb all that dew and be damp again.

So, it’s a not quite rare day in the Ozarks for laundry hanging but sometimes there are the elements to consider. The best days are sunny, breezy and moderately temperatured. Like this week has been.

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One Response to Me and Grandma and the Laundry

  1. Eunice 'eb' says:

    Very well written Sarah…Grandma would be proud of you for sure…yes Mom/Grandma taught us all well and I still hang clothes when I can. We have a longer season here in Utah than you do so we can hang clothes till winer really gets here. …Love you…mom

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