Wednesday, February 04, 2009


Thoughts on a Wednesday Morning

Today was a day for running around the house getting caught up on the chores… the serious “gotta do’s” and as many of the “oughta do’s” as possible. The temps are back in the bottom of the 30s, so that meant breaking the ice on the birdbath and putting in clean water. Ditto with the various animal drinking dishes, funny how they have their favorite drinking places, isn’t it?
Most of the feeders are still pretty full, so that chore can wait. Redbelly is here!

The bulb burned out in the greenhouse – it is the source of heat on these cold days and nights. I had to turn the controls back on to the 24 hour setting as it is not supposed to warm up to 40 until the week-end. The impatiens were looking a bit droopy so I figured I’d better give them a quick drink while I had the door open. Here it is, the first week in February and they are still blooming! I am glad to have the color as the camellias are mostly brown from the cold. But, there are the buds…
The robins came early this year. The first flock arrived on Saturday, the last day of January! What were they thinking? They never used to come until the 7th of February, but the rest of the huge flock arrived yesterday. Poor things! The air was filled with their sweet music as they twittered to each other, settling in for the day, trying to decide whether to stay or go on tomorrow, looking for something to eat on the cold, cold ground. I wonder if these are MY birds, or just visitors. It is too cold this year for them to find much to eat. Last week the ground was frozen and didn’t thaw until the week-end when it hit 60 on Sunday. I actually sat out in the sun in a T-shirt soaking up as much vitamin D as possible. Sure beats swallowing more vitamins!
The weather has been its usual confusing self. Winter warnings, snow warnings, a flurry of snow flakes for an hour or so, but nothing on the ground. The warnings continue into this afternoon and tonight. The kids get so excited and then nothing to play in… poor things. on the other hand, they see on the computer cams their cousins in Maine digging thru a couple feet of snow, sliding down the mounds piled up by the snow plows and then look out in the yard here at the dead grass and left over leaves from autumn which seems to have been years ago. (current Portland webcam)
As the washer spins to a stop, I look longingly out the window at a moment’s burst of sunlight that disappears before I can even blink my eyes. I am one of those strange ones – I LOVE to hang my clothes outside. I love the way they smell. I don’t care if they are a bit scratchier, the jeans a bit stiffer… there is something that makes them feel better anyway. Maybe it is in knowing Ma Nature dried them for me instead of the local electric co-op and my pitiful social security check. But, I think of the weather forecast.

As I pull the clothes out of the washer to hang in the bathroom to dry or to go in the drier, I think back (I wonder where these thoughts come from) to the days of my youth and hanging clothes out on the line in the middle of a Maine winter. We used diapers then, none of this pampers stuff. At temperatures around or below zero, one had to be fast hanging things out on the line. The trick was to pull out the diaper, snap it open and pin it before it froze. More than once in my early days of learning how to do this, I struggled with trying to find corners in the frozen material that I could somehow pin with fingers nearly as frozen as the cloth. My thoughts then went to using a wringer! Yep, that’s what we had. I thought about that as I threw my jeans in the drier, how we had to fold the clothes just so and sneak them thru the wringer without breaking the zipper. I don’t believe I have thought about that in 50 years!

I had a best friend back then. Holly was her name. I remember hassling her about getting her homework done, going over Latin together, studying for an exam. Holly’s grandmother lived with them and had no patience with Latin or much of anything related to education. She was just the opposite of my grandmother who taught me to read by the time I was 3. I remember Holly’s grandmother yelled at me one night to go home and leave Holly alone. She did not need to know Latin to wash and change diapers. Stupid me, I yelled back (as only a teenager can) “There’s more to life than changing diapers. Holly can DO something, BE somebody.” Granny told me to get out. I had no realization that I had just insulted the woman, I was just looking out for Holly’s future. And hoping for my own…

Suddenly I realized I was standing next to my washer and drier, lost in the past, realizing there was someone else I owed an apology to and could never give it. (Will the list never end?) Shortly after that day back in Maine, Holly and her family moved to a neighboring town. In less than a year, I was living with my father in the Middle East. I never saw or even heard from Holly again. Funny how things go…
My knowledge of Latin stood me well as I traveled the world. Even with languages that were not even remotely related to Latin, somehow I believe it helped me in understanding language structure better than any English classes ever did. I wonder what Holly ended up doing.

Oh, it is snowing. Hard. Maybe…???


Ralph said...

It's amazing how you can be doing something and those thoughts will just pop into your head. You got to love it.
The other day I was driving down the street and started thinking about someone I have seen or heard from in years, Kind of like Holly in your post.

ancient one said...

I've hung frozen diapers on a line and felt like my fingers would fall off. We just got a light dusting of snow.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

A interesting memory. I still hang out my laundry, even when I have to wash it at the laundramat.

Ginnie said...

My Mother had many collections and one of them, believe it or not, was a series of photos showing wash being hung out on lines. She loved those and it became rarer and rarer, even in her time, to find ones to photograph.

Marla said...

I am reading this late. I noticed 2 robins in my yard on Thursday. We had a winter storm on Friday with over 6 inches of snow. I bet the robins wished that they didn't come so early.

Mary Q Contrarie said...

Some of my foundest memories are using the wringer washer with my mom. When I was real little I stood on a milk crate and I was allowed to move the clothes around in the rinse water while Mom ran them through the wringer.

I still love to air dry my laundry now that I live in town I use clothes drying racks.

Thanks for bringing back the memories.