Is it Autumn or Fall?  My husband and I have debated the name of the season for the past thirty years.  To me, fall has always been fall.  My parents said so; when you’re a kid, they’re the authority on everything.  That hit a snag when I started school.  Apparently, the last two meals
of the day are lunch and dinner, not dinner and supper, as I had always been told.  My lunch box was proof.  My parents disputed this claim.  Back in the day, when they walked ten miles, uphill both ways, to the one-room schoolhouse, they had carried dinner pails.  Ask a teenage Wal-Mart clerk where to find “dinner pails” and you’ll get a blank look, the same one you get if you inquire about canning jars or clothespins.  The 80-year-old greeter will know what you’re after; if he’s a wise-ass, he’ll snicker and direct you to the Olsen’s Mercantile in Walnut Grove.  Fall, however, was validated on the bulletin board in our classroom.
F-A-L-L, spelled out in big, official-looking letters and surrounded by a mélange of red, orange, and yellow construction paper leaves.  If a nun said it was so, it was so.  Nuns were demi-gods, after all.  Fall remained rock-solid, unchallenged until I married a man who insisted “autumn” was the correct word for the season between summer and winter.  If that were true, it would be the dinner/supper dilemma reincarnated, not to mention poor Sister Josetta having to suffer in purgatory, her penance for lying.  The librarian hedged, saying it could go either way; fall was simply vernacular for the “proper” term, autumn.  Not one to lose sleep over being proper, I used fall and autumn interchangeably
for years without really thinking about it.  Then I did think about it:


Mankind was damned
by its fall from grace;
we fall off the wagon,
we fall on our face

We fall ill but we never
fall into good health
We fall into ruin,
not winnings or wealth

We fall blindly in love,
a free fall of the heart,
falling out, then away,
‘til it all falls apart

We fall over ourselves
but fall short of success,
falling victim, it seems,
to our own eagerness

Fall down on the job
or fall prey to a scam
and you’ll need to resort
to your fall-back plan

Pleas fall on deaf ears
A joke might fall flat
Fall too far behind and
you’ll fall off the map

We fall on our swords,
take the fall for a friend,
doomed to fall ‘til the big
curtain falls at the end

Connotations of gloom
are surely the reason
that AUTUMN, not FALL,
is my favorite season

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Autumn moves in like an inexperienced driver, one who hasn’t quite mastered the gears that make the earth revolve smoothly around the sun.  He’s wary at first, but soon barrels ahead into sweater weather, only to backpedal into summer for two sweltering weeks in October.

Speaking of which, my nephew and niece turned sixteen and started driving this year, stirring up memories of my own early experiences behind the wheel.  I can appreciate why parents aren’t especially eager to ride shotgun while their progeny learn to navigate the open road.  Mine sent me to a two-week driving school.  My first in-car instructor was a very pregnant Hispanic woman.  It terrified me to realize three lives would be at stake if we crashed.  The teacher, blithely unaware
that I was a driving virgin who had never even backed the family Buick out of the garage, told me to “adjust the seat and mirrors” while she popped back inside to use the restroom.  She returned to find me ill-positioned and completely perplexed.  How was I supposed to adjust the seat if I didn’t know what I needed to be able to do or reach?  How could I adjust the mirrors when I didn’t know what I should be able to see?  She sighed; it was gonna be a long two hours for both of us.  We went no faster than 35 mph, circling clockwise, then counterclockwise around the block, me struggling to keep the car between the lines as
I practiced stops and right and lefthand turns.  I must have scared the poor kid right out of her; I arrived the next morning to find she’d been replaced by an easygoing hillbilly with long hair and a scraggly beard.  On the entrance ramp to the highway, he slid one foot out of his man-sandal and pulled it up onto his lap. “Turn your left blinker on,” he said.  He barely glanced up from the callus he was picking as I merged, white-knuckled, into the speeding traffic.  I learned to drive a stick shift in my boyfriend’s Mercury Lynx.  It was surprisingly easy; I can recall only one embarrassing incident.  I was first in line at a traffic light, waiting to make a left turn.  When I got the green arrow, I manipulated the pedals as I had been taught, but somehow, I stalled the car.  I tried again and again, to no avail.  Traffic backed up behind me.  Angry honks filled the air.  Stymied, I fingered the shifter, realizing as the light turned red that the car was in third gear.  More precisely, jammed in third gear.  When the light changed, I punched the gas and held on as the engine caught and the car bucked and jerked around the corner.  I managed to coast safely into a parking lot and use a pay phone to call my boyfriend, who dispatched two of his mechanically-inclined uncles to the scene.  Mark and Rich were kind enough to get me un-jammed without any snickers or snide remarks.  At least, none that I ever knew about.  It was a life lesson in having patience with beginners… both ourselves and others.


Another one of Earth’s boys
must have gotten his learner’s permit
Suddenly, the orbital ride
is downright jerky and unpredictable
Stalling out and stopping,
creeping cautiously through summer,
then punching the gas,
tossing equinox headlong into solstice,
only to jam on the brakes
and throw the spin of the entire planet
into a wobbling reverse
Trees blush in embarrassed empathy
Earth sighs and sets his jaw;
they will tackle parallel parking later

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Questions arose last week about whether Peaches is my first cat, my first foray into feline serfdom.  Actually, he’s not, but I’m a bit out of practice.  We took a kitten into our apartment in 1989, then another, then another…  For the past 28 years, we’ve had at least one and as many as six cats fleeing the vacuum cleaner and winding themselves around our legs.  Runty Caper set the house record for longevity, 23 years.  When she could no longer outrun our puppy, she began playing dead, proof that an old cat can learn new tricks.  As the cats aged, we moved them into a (baby) gated community in a spare bedroom that slowly devolved into a nursing home and then a hospice.  I thought my cat years were over, but during a brisk end-of-autumn walk, our dog flushed Ginger out of a corn field.  Ginger was a decidedly outdoor cat who roamed the neighborhood in weather so inclement it would stop even the postman.  She played with the local skunks, showed up every morning for breakfast, knocked on windows using her paw when she wanted to come in.  It was a new experience for me, a veteran indoor cat person.  When Peaches moved in next door, he was smitten with Ginger and followed her everywhere.  He was heartbroken when we lost her and moped around for weeks, hanging out in our flowerbed pining for her, and eagerly accepting any affection we would give him.  The neighbors (renters dismayed when the owner put the place on the market) closed on a new house last week, one near a state highway.  Afraid for Peaches’ safety and unable to keep him inside all the time, they asked if we’d be willing to take him.

Peaches was docile and affectionate.  His people said he loved being indoors, probably because it was such a rare treat.  Our new adoptee slept in his basket, basked in the sunny bay window, quickly mastered his litterbox, and licked the gravy off his canned food before finishing the tidbits.  Despite ample opportunities for escape, he never tried to make a break for it.  I figured it would be simple to transition him to a house cat.  WRONG.  On Day 5, he did a runner.  Why would he take off on such a cold, drizzly day?  I can only guess he spied his name on the calendar next to the word vet.  I spent the better part of the morning trying to find and capture the scrappy bastard, completely forgetting that since orange cats possess limited ability to camouflage, Peaches would have spent the last two years honing his feline Ninja skills and familiarizing himself with every nook and cranny in the neighborhood.  Trust me, opposable thumbs are no match for a combination like that.

Below is my account of the experience told in SHADORMA, a Spanish form with six lines and the following syllable count: 3 / 5 / 3 / 3 / 7 / 5.  Any subject is fair game; no final shift or turn is necessary.  Shadorma may be written as a single stanza or a series.


Keen instincts:
On scheduled vet day,
he slips out
the dog door,
reveling in freedom and
his own cleverness

Detailed maps
of the neighborhood:
every fence,
every tree,
spaces under decks and sheds
where he can lay low

outfox, outrun, hide
until owner
slogs home in muddy rain boots,
cancels appointment

Internal clock:
wait fifteen minutes,
purr sweetly,
and insist the whole thing was
just coincidence

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Friends often ask how I became a poet.  Did I write poems as a child?  Was I a promising writer in high school?  Did I major in Literature or Creative Writing?  No, no, and no.  I was an architect of wooden blocks and Tinkertoys as a kid.  My Senior English teacher (and ACT) indicated that language was my weakest subject.  I did not begin my writing life
in earnest until I retired from nursing in autumn 2014.  Due to budget constraints, offerings at the local university were limited.  Poetry was the only writing class available and I grudgingly agreed to give it a try.

The first assignment had me in a dither: “With This Is Just To Say in mind, write a short poem based on something mundane.”  Like what?  Dust?  Chicken noodle soup?  My life?  A mere two feet away, Froggie hung from my pencil jar sending an urgent psychic message, Oh! Oh! Pick me! Pick me!  He’d cost $1.99 at a Maine gift shop called The 45th Parallel.  He’s small, olive green, and has hooked front legs that allow him to hang from things.  A couple weeks after I got Froggie, hubby kidnapped him from my desk and hid him.  I found him hanging on the edge of a bowl in the kitchen cupboard, a fun surprise.  So I hid him for hubby to find, peeking out from a roll of toilet paper in the bathroom cabinet.  Moving him around became our little “I love you” game.  On several occasions, Froggie got knocked off his perch and broke a leg, but each time, we mended him with a few drops of Super Glue and the game continued.  Froggie became the subject of my (very mundane) poem, which was returned to me marked “Purely delightful!” I will be forever grateful to my teacher for not writing, “Yikes!  Is Dr. Seuss on the loose?” which would have stopped me in my tracks.


My ceramic frog
is a great little token
of our Maine vacation
and that’s no jokin’

He fell a few times
and has two legs broken
but with a bit of Super Glue,
he keeps on croakin’

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I have a doctor’s appointment coming up this week, which brought to mind a piece I did a while back for an online writing class.  It ended up on the slush pile because the word count exceeded the limit. Though loosely based on real-life events, this story-with-a-twist is fictional:

When the smiling medical assistant calls my name, I get up and follow her down the hallway to the examination room.  I don’t know about you, but all that smiling gets on my nerves.  Why do they always have to be so damn cheerful as they lead you to the slaughter?  The paper-covered table awaits.  She gestures and says,“You know the drill, everything off from here down.  Dr. Shwarma will be in to see you in a minute.”

I remove no more than absolutely necessary, stack my things neatly on the pink pleather chair in the corner, and sit down on the table to wait.  The doctor will not be in “in a minute.”  That’s just another glib lie they tell you.  The air conditioning is chilly and I wish I had one of those little mini-sheets to cover up with.  I guess modesty isn’t as big a deal where Dr. Shwarma is from, but she’s generally pleasant and competent, so I keep my complaints to myself.

In due time, Dr. Shwarma arrives.  She gives three quick raps on the door, then squeaks it open before I have a chance to holler Come in.  “Gooood morning,” she sings through the entryway, as she grabs my chart and flips it open. “You are here today for check-up…” she says.
I can’t tell if it’s a statement or a question, but I can see clear into the hallway behind her so I answer in the affirmative, hoping she’ll come inside and shut the door before the whole clinic gets a free show.

“Well then, let’s have a look.”  She slides on the half-glasses hanging from a silver chain around her neck and begins her exam.  I stare up at the ceiling and try to escape to my happy place, but her near-constant commentary is distracting.  “The anatomy here is a bit unusual,” she says, touching the weird part with her gloved finger.  “It’s nothing to worry about, just something to be aware of.  If function is affected or
it bothers you,” she prattles, “there is surgery that can be done.  Does
it cause you any problems?  Any pain?”

“Nope,” I say curtly, hoping she’ll get the hint and move things along.

“You have a small lesion here that should come off.  I can remove it for you now, if you like.  That would save you another trip, yes?”

There is nothing I would like less, but I nod.  I don’t want to have to come back.  She fills in a few blanks on a consent form and has me scribble my signature at the bottom.  She roots around in a nearby drawer, grabs a sterile package, and peels it open.  She withdraws a throwaway scalpel and leans toward me.  I scoot back.  “You’re just going to cut it off, just like that?  Shouldn’t you numb it first?”

“There are no nerves here,” she says. “It will not cause any pain.”

My mouth is dry and my heart is racing.  I brace myself as she presses the blade against my flesh but she’s right, I don’t feel a thing.

“This,” she says, holding up a thin slice of tissue, “is a benign thickening caused by overuse and friction.  You do not have much cushion there, between the surface and the bone.”  She rolls her little stool backward and discards her gloves in the trash can.  “As long as there is no pain or bleeding, you may resume your normal activities today.”  Then, almost as an afterthought, she points and says, “You might want to trim those.  Or perhaps treat yourself to a professional job.  Summer fashions can be quite revealing, as you know.”

I am beyond embarrassed.  The minute the door clicks shut, I yank my socks and shoes back on and grab my purse.  On the way out, I stop to schedule my follow-up.  Though the dog days of August are still in full swing, the clerk’s desk sports a Halloween-themed bowl of corn pads next to a crafty wooden sign that says “Trick or Treat, Smell my Feet.”  Podiatry humor.  Ugghhh.

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Another way to write a poem is to start with a PROMPT.  We do this in my poetry group; at the end of the evening, we choose a topic for our next meeting.  While it’s not mandatory to follow it, the prompt acts
as an idea generator.  The variety of ways different people approach the same subject always proves interesting.  Prompts can come from many sources–writing guides or classes, internet sites, etc.  I found the list below on WordPress, on the blog of a friend of a friend.  I greatly admire anyone with the discipline to write a new poem every day for
a month.  I am slowly working through, and my current prompt is #5, Blue.  That reminded me of a short piece I did for Writerrific last year.  Our assignment was to choose a color and personify it (assign human characteristics to something non-human or abstract).  It’s not a poem, so I’m not off the hook on my project, but I thought I’d dust it off and share it.  Listen as Miss Navy coaxes the Blues right outta that horn…



I’m the middle child of the Blues, a deep but underappreciated color whose name nobody remembers.  I hoped things would change when I won a place on the American flag but found victory empty when I was reduced to a number (70075), the backdrop for the fifty “real” stars.  A second chance at fame took a painfully ironic turn when I learned that the “Dress Blue” uniform of the Navy is actually black.  If I really apply myself, I can shrink an ample bedroom to the dimensions of a prison cell, a magnificent parlor trick no one cares to witness.  The smallest box of crayons to even include me is the 64-pack, where there is a high probability I will never leave my assigned seat, let alone rendezvous with the built-in sharpener.  I envy Teal and Cerulean and Cobalt their flashy popularity, making guest appearances on sports cars and swim- suits and Kitchen Aid mixers while I remain eternally in the shadows, a lackluster hue woven into the pleated tartan skirts of Catholic school- girls.  Only the most discerning eye sees me for what I am, an enduring classic with potential to steal the show, my smoky voice matching the saxophone note-for-note as I belt out them Birth Order Blues.

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Our Sundial camper is a rare beauty, a vintage ’66 VW Bus sporting an aftermarket Freedom America bubble-top.  Her fold-down Z-bed, which serves as sofa, dinette seating, and full-size sleeping quarters, came to us with a new mechanism, cushion, and cover, attesting to the action it has seen over the years.  In the “up” position, the Z-bed is the back seat. Our dogs curl up on it when we travel and occasionally share space with a hitchhiker, if we are inclined to pick one up.  At dinnertime, we cozy up beside the little Formica table for grilled cheese and tomato soup, hot off the camp stove.  In the evenings, we add a few throw pillows, kick back, and listen to some tunes, play Scrabble, or stargaze through the skylight.  People always want to know if it’s a magically delicious setting for romantic action.  The short answer is yes.  Well, sometimes.

I’ll never forget our first foray in that Sundial.  We picked her up in late summer and towed her cross-country on a U-Haul dolly that threatened to self-destruct if we dared exceed 52 exact miles per hour.  Creeping through flat, boring Kansas in the far right-hand lane of the interstate was near-hypnotic, and became fully so after darkness fell.  We made a plan:  when the driver got tired, the passenger would take over.  As the night wore on, our shifts behind the wheel grew shorter and shorter.
At 3 am, eyelids drooping, we spotted a gift from God–an open parking lane at a roadside rest area.  Breathing a sigh of relief, we sandwiched our tiny rig between a FedEx truck and another eighteen-wheeler.  As I made my way to the restroom, the FedEx driver zipped past me with a spring in his step that ought to be illegal at that hour.  When I returned, both he and his truck were gone.

I folded down the Z-bed and spread out our sleeping bags.  With the camper’s rear wheels jacked up on the trailer, the mattress was far from level, but it would do for the night.  I opened the side windows, praying for a brisk cross-breeze to relieve the pent-up heat and humidity.  The light scent of the mister’s aftershave wafted through the screen as he approached.  He flipped off the dome light and we snuggled between the puffy layers of nylon.  He had just slipped his hand into a magically delicious location and whispered something about “christening” the new Bus when the growl of a diesel engine announced the arrival of a newcomer.  The driver rattled his cargo into the space vacated by the FedEx truck and within seconds, an overpowering stench muscled its way into our nostrils.  We sat bolt upright, nearly knocking ourselves out on the low ceiling.  We frantically cranked the windows shut, but it was no use.  The unforgivable odor of that truckload of hogs hung in the air, suffocating any notion of romance or shut-eye.  Hot ideas and heavy eyelids be damned, we needed to relocate, and pronto.  Sadly, our dreamy rendezvous with the Z-bed would have to be postponed.

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My orchid just flowered for the third time — four beautiful yellow blossoms.  In the filtered light of our bay window, she disregards my brown thumbs and chugs along in her half-cup of dirt, requiring only
a thorough soaking with water every two weeks.  I give her maximum points for hardiness, and admire her uncanny ability to thrive in such suboptimal circumstances.


Orchids always remind me of Thailand.  My husband and I vacationed in Bangkok almost twenty years ago.  One evening, we and several others from our tour group splurged on dinner at a five-star restaurant in the Oriental Hotel.  The service was exquisite.  Beverages practically refilled themselves.  Soiled ashtrays (smoking was permitted back then) were promptly covered, removed, and replaced.  When a guest exited the restroom, a matron quietly slipped in to remove the used towel from the wastebasket and refold the loose end of the toilet paper into a welcoming triangle.  A captain and his team of three waiters set our plates before us and lifted their silver covers off at precisely the same instant.  Afterward, the staff hovered a few feet from the table, ready to whisk away the empty plates.  My husband’s entrée was garnished with an edible flower—a gorgeous pink orchid—which he popped into his mouth at the end of the meal.  The youngest of the waiters did a double-take, then let out an involuntary snicker.  He raced back to the kitchen holding his sides, doing his level best to maintain the dignified demeanor expected of him.  The captain apologized profusely for the boy’s behavior.  He was new, we were told, and this was the first time he (or any of them, for that matter) had ever seen such a thing.  We waved off the apology and left a generous tip.  To this day, when I spy orchids for sale in our grocery store’s flower shop, I giggle to myself and ponder whether they ought to be located in the produce depart-ment instead.

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double dish dare ya

The following dialog, a compilation of several real-life conversations with my cable company, begins after a fifteen minute wait on hold:

“Thank you for choosing Rip-Off Cable.  My name is Don.  How many I assist you today?”

“Well, Don, I’m calling because my internet speed keeps slowing down and jamming up the programs I’m streaming.”

“Let me log in and check on that.  Hmmm… when did it happen?”

“It happens all the time!  Most recently, last night around 9 or 10 pm.”

“Our computer shows no interruption in service in your area during that time.  It could be due to software incompatibility or transmissions using a non-RipOff tower.  As you know, we have no control over that.”

“This is not a one-time thing, Don.  And every time I call to complain, you guys deny responsibility.  It’s annoying!  I’m considering a switch to AD+D U-Curse.”

“According to the data here on my screen, AD+D’s high-speed U-Curse is not available in your service area.  Looks like RipOff is pretty much your only option, am I right?”

“Maybe I should just ditch cable TV.  That would save us a few bucks.  We hardly watch it anyway.”

“Says here you’ve got a bundle rate for having your cable, telephone, and internet with us.  So you could drop cable, but it wouldn’t reduce your bill; in fact, you’d pay about five dollars more.”

“Five dollars more?  That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard!  How is that even possible?”

“Three or more services are required to qualify for the bundle discount.  Here at RipOff Cable, you save a bundle by bundling!”

“I wouldn’t be so sure of that, Don.  Last month’s bill went up ten bucks from what it had been in May.  So actually, I’m paying more for internet speed that I’m not even getting.”

“The amount we’re charging you is the customary rate for 30 Mbps and we give you 50 Mbps!  That’s like getting an extra 20 Mbps for free!”

“But Don, I’ve had 50 Mbps all along and now it costs ten dollars more.”

“The additional charges represent an across-the-board rate increase designed to cover the cost of our recent equipment upgrades.”

“Well, I don’t know what you’ve upgraded, because my service is worse, not better.  And what do you mean, across-the-board?  That can’t be right.  My neighbor has RipOff, too, and her bill didn’t go up.”

“Then it must be all those taxes and fees the state and federal tack on.  We are required by law to collect those fees.  They can really add up.”

“Hey, Don, there was a flyer in my bill last month offering basic cable, phone, and high speed internet for $49.99 a month.  That’s quite a bit less than I pay now.  How about you switch me over to that plan?”

“Sorry, but if you read the fine print on the bottom of the flyer, you’ll see that our special introductory rate is for new customers only.”

“Then why would you put it in with the bill?  Only existing customers get bills, right?”

“We’re hoping you’ll pass the coupon on to your family or friends.  So they can enjoy the superior service and value we offer here at RipOff.”

“Since when it is superior service to refuse existing customers the same low rate that you offer to new ones?  I’d like to speak with a manager.”

“Ma’am, there is no need to involve a manager.  I’ll do you a favor.  I’ll make an exception in your case and switch you over to our introductory plan.  You’ll see the change on your next billing cycle.  But the special rate is guaranteed for twelve months only.  After that, it reverts back to the higher rate.”

“So, to clarify, you’re saying that my RipOff bill will be $49.99 a month for one full year?”

“I cannot promise that, Ma’am.  Just because the rate is guaranteed doesn’t mean the price of your service won’t go up.”


“So, is there anything else I can help you with today?”

“What about the internet slow-downs and interrupted streaming?  You know, the problem I originally called you about?”

“Here’s what you need to do.  Switch the modem off and unplug it, wait 15-30 seconds, then plug it back in and turn it on.  That should reset it.”

“Sounds good, I’ll try it right now.  Stay on the line, Don, OK?  Just in case it doesn’t work… Don, are you there?  Don?  Hello???”

Grrrr!  I dare you to hang up on me again, Don.  I double-dish dare you!

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I had my first laundry lesson when I was five.  My grandma let me help crank clothes through her old-fashioned wringer and hang them out.
I was too short to reach the line, so I handed her clothespins while she shared her wisdom.  “Sheets are always washed first and hung on the line nearest the neighbors,” she said, “to shield our unmentionables from view.”  A few loads later, I figured out what it was we weren’t supposed to mention—underwear.  We giggled about the free show her neighbors wouldn’t be seeing:  the boys’ tightie-whities, the girls’ granny panties, and Grandma’s own “snuggies,” a girdle-and-knicker hybrid that made up for in modesty what it lacked in comfort.

This knowledge came in handy when mom returned to the workforce and my sisters and I were tasked with doing laundry in the summers.  Mom always left strict instructions to hang everything outside.  A few times, we used the dryer and said we hadn’t, but somehow, Mom was never fooled.  We made up excuses:  It was too hot or cold.  Too many bugs.  The weatherman said it was going to rain.  Dad mowed the lawn and we’re all allergic to cut grass, remember?  Her response was always the same:  quit whining, get back to work.  So we labored and sweated. We whacked Japanese beetles off the bath towels with our badminton rackets.  One sister got surprised by a wasp lurking in her line-dried pajama pants.  Before long, we despised clotheslines and clothespins, creepy-crawly hitchhikers, starchy underwear that chafed our backsides, and most of all, spending our summer vacation doing chores while the neighbor kids ate popsicles and played with their dogs.  I couldn’t wait to turn eighteen and go away to college.

Intoxicated with freedom, I moved into a dormitory where, armed with a roll of quarters, I could use the dryers whenever I wished.  In fact, I gave no thought at all to hanging laundry outside until my husband and I bought our first home.  Money was tight.  A friend gave me a folding clothesline she no longer used, so I went to the local five-and-dime and picked up a package of spring-loaded wooden clothespins.  I secured the aluminum post in a cast-iron umbrella stand and pinned up a few loads.  Later that day, an untimely gust of wind caught the corner of a fitted sheet and toppled the whole shebang as I watched in horror.  Miraculously, the clean laundry managed to skirt the random piles of dog poop lying all over the yard.  I could have stood there whining, but instead I got to work, constructing a sturdier stand.  A length of PVC pipe, a bag of cement, a little ingenuity, and I was back in business.

Over the years, I grew attached to that little clothesline and when it broke, I purchased another just like it.  What’s not to love?  Hanging out my laundry conserves energy and saves money.  It keeps me mindful of the weather and seasons.  Everything is fresh-smelling and static-free.  Clothes last longer.  Towels are more absorbent.  Sunshine and gentle exercise keep me healthy. But the best part is the connection I feel with my mom and grandma as I watch my sheets flap in the breeze, guarding certain items I won’t mention.  I know they would be proud that the tiny seeds of common sense and frugality they planted in me all those years ago have finally taken root and sprouted.

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