Spring by Kathryn White

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Humble Clothesline

~Mennonite clothesline

The sun has been shining beautifully these past few days and the snow has finally melted on the back deck. This means that I can use my clothesline again!
It has been filled with bed sheets, curtains and comforters and all manner of laundry.
This is one of my favourite aspects of Spring, although there are some here, including the Mennonites, who use their clotheslines year round. They have large pulleys between their house and barn and just crank the clothes out in all seasons.

There are several benefits to hanging your laundry on the line including:
~the clothing will last longer
~savings on energy
~the sun is a natural whitener so you will need less bleach (kills bacteria)
~the fresh sun and wind fragrance....you can't beat that!
~a clothesline speaks of home to me

The Clothesline Said So Much

A clothesline was a news forecast
To neighbors passing by.
There were no secrets you could keep
When clothes were hung to dry.

It also was a friendly link
For neighbors always knew
If company had stopped on by
To spend a night or two.

For then you'd see the fancy sheets
And towels on the line;
You'd see the company table clothes
With intricate design.

The line announced a baby's birth
To folks who lived inside
As brand new infant clothes were hung
So carefully with pride.

The ages of the children could
So readily be known
By watching how the sizes changed
You'd know how much they'd grown.

It also told when illness struck,
As extra sheets were hung;
Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe, too,
Haphazardly were strung.

It said, "Gone on vacation now"
When lines hung limp and bare.
It told, "We're back!" when full lines sagged
With not an inch to spare.

New folks in town were scorned upon
If wash was dingy gray,
As neighbors raised their brows,
And looked disgustedly away.

But clotheslines now are of the past
For dryers make work less.
Now what goes on inside a home
Is anybody's guess.

I really miss that way of life.
It was a friendly sign
When neighbors knew each other best
By what hung on the line!

Author: Marilyn K. Walker