Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

November 18, 2013

Cathie Shaffer: Mama’s still got it : 11/19/13

Cathie Shaffer
The Independent

GREENUP — My ever-patient son came down the other day and fixed the dryer again. The problem was, as I expected, a busted belt.

I suggested to him that the next time it happened, I might buy a new dryer. But he is so my child.

He reminded me the belts were a little over six bucks apiece and at the current rate of about two a year, I’d have less than a hundred dollars invested in repair over 10 years.

As we were coordinating schedules for him to come look at the dryer and me to get the belt — which is only sold in selected places — I dragged the drying rack from the shed because I hate having to drag clothes to the coin laundry.

This is a pretty nice rack as they go with plastic rods instead of wood ones. It folds down to almost nothing when not in use and holds close to a full load of clothes when needed.

The drawback is that unlike my electric dryer, the clothes don’t tumble. That means — shudder — that some things must be pressed.

Yes. I was forced into the old practice of using an iron to remove wrinkles.

Lucky for me, I still had the old steam iron I used back in the day when I played at being a hausfrau. It took a little looking but I finally found it under the sink, tucked behind the mop bucket and some cleaning supplies.

Plugging it in might have been risky given its age and state of disuse. But it heated right up and even gave that sizzle that meant there was water inside. I decided it might be wise not to use that feature so I sprinkled water over the items to be ironed instead.

Yeah, I remember the days before steam irons. I grew up taking the pop bottle full of water with the shaker thing on top and dampening the clothes for my mother. She had one of those long presser things that did pillowcases and big stuff plus the regular iron for everything else.

I have always hated to iron. It doesn’t matter that I developed mad skills in pressing clothes. I have just never liked doing it.

But my grandgirl needed her scrubs pressed before she went to work. So since I have no idea where the ironing board is, I employed the old trick of laying a towel on the counter.

Luckily the girl is small so that worked. I actually kind of enjoyed watching the wrinkles go away and hanging the scrub suit on its hanger.

Kind of, you’ll notice. The second time wasn’t as much fun. And by the time I was starting on third set, I remembered why I didn’t like to iron.

Now, of course, the drying rack can go back to the shed and the iron to its hiding place at the back of the cabinet behind the sink. We are once again living in the age of luxury.

But the experience isn’t without its benefits. For one thing, it taught my grandgirls that “green” alternatives are nothing new and that mamas have been air-drying clothes for generations, starting with laying them on rocks.

And second, it reminded me that while I may know how to do things the old fashioned way, I do like my washer, dryer, microwave, blender ...

CATHIE SHAFFER can be reached at cathieshaffer@zoominternet.net