The other day I was ironing a couple of blouses, not necessarily something I do on a regular basis, but I do know what an iron is and how to use it. This brief moment of domesticity caused me to recall a remark made by late my late husband many, many years ago about me and about ironing.
As Golden Girls’ Sophia would say, “Picture this! Christmas Eve, Houston, Texas, 1972!” “Santa” has made his late-night delivery, leaving my husband and I to prepare for that magical Christmas morning. As many of our readers will recall from back in the day before electronic toys, it wasn’t a crime to buy a G.I. Joe, a cap gun, or trucks and cars for our son, or a baby doll and tea party dishes, for our daughter.
So, on Christmas Eve, I carefully laid out the dishes and the housekeeping set with a little pink broom. As I moved on to the little ironing board and play iron, my husband behind me said, “She won’t know what to do with it.”
You could say I was Linda Blair before there was a Linda Blair.
My head spun around as I asked, “What did you say?”
“Well, she won’t know what to do with it. She never sees you iron,” he replied in what I considered a snide, snarky tone of voice.
Apparently, I’ve blocked the events immediately following that exchange from my mind, but contention reached a new level shortly after that when my husband’s boss inadvertently joined the fray. It seems my permanent press, wash ‘n wear attitude about my husband’s white business shirts didn’t quite fly at the office.
Truth be told, I will never know the exact exchange. Did his boss tell him just to wear pressed shirts? Or did his boss tell him that his WIFE needed to press his shirts? The version that made it home was that I had to starch and iron his shirts!
While I was mad at my husband and his boss, I was more embarrassed for myself. If you’re the parent of growing children, listen and learn - I watched my mother iron but she never made me iron. Just watching and not doing is not the same as hands-on learning. Ironing is an art but despite my feeble attempts at beautifully pressed shirts, I always seem to miss the mark. I just wasn’t good at it.
The obvious solution was the dry cleaners, but we were on a short financial leash with one income, two kids and a bun in the oven. Later, when I started working, I got that albatross off my neck by taking his business suits and shirts to the cleaners myself, but then the contentious point became who would pick them up!
Now that he’s in Heaven and I won’t have to hear “I told you so” until I join him, I can admit there was some truth to his observation. It’s not that I necessarily hate ironing, but like with housecleaning in general, I hate it until forced to do it, but once doing it, I don’t stop until I’m done.
I admit there is a certain calm when ironing, analogous to that of erasing and smoothing out the wrinkles and troubles of life. Unfortunately, I’ve never been very good at either, but as the mother of a dear friend use to say, “It’ll all come out in the wash.” Yes, it will but when it does, just don’t expect me to iron it!
Connie Clements is a freelance reporter for the Navasota Examiner and award-winning columnist. She writes feature news articles on a weekly basis and an opinion column as the mood strikes her.