Lori Borgman finds the funny in ev­ery­day life, writ­ing from the heart­land of the US. Now, if she could just find her car keys...

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Our colum­nist Lori Borgman’s grand­kids love to do laun­dry. She isn’t com­plain­ing.

Why is it that when work has an el­e­ment of joy, it isn’t work at all, but when you re­move the joy, the same work that was once a de­light be­comes a chore? Take laun­dry. Please. There are three grands in the play­house when one of them says they have spilled some­thing on the table­cloth.

She has a vested in­ter­est in the table­cloth; she helped sew it. They can all sew a straight line, which means they are on a skill level with their grandma. ‘Can I wash this?’ ‘You want to do laun­dry?’ The con­cept is for­eign to me. ‘Yes, the old way.’ ‘You mean a top-load ma­chine?’ ‘No.’ ‘You mean a wringer washer?’ A blank stare. ‘The old way. Like on the prairie.’ I came back with an old wash­board that hangs over the washer and dryer.

She is delighted. Who doesn’t jump up and down at the prospect of scrub­bing some­thing out by hand?

So, there she is go­ing to town with the table­cloth and the wash­board, hav­ing a won­der­ful time, and I am hav­ing a won­der­ful time sit­ting in the shade watching her work. That’s prob­a­bly one of my favourite el­e­ments of work – watching some­one else on task.

She fin­ishes the table­cloth and an­nounces her dress needs wash­ing. She dashes to the house to put on some old clothes from the ‘emer­gency’ drawer and be­gins wash­ing her dress.

Her sis­ter an­nounces that her dress needs wash­ing, too.

The de­sire to work has now grown con­ta­gious. If only we could pack­age and mar­ket this fer­vour.

An­other sis­ter an­nounces she wants to wash some­thing the old way, but must be in costume. She dashes in­side and re­turns wear­ing a long dress, a straw hat and an apron.

They have all had turns at the wash­board and an­nounce they need to dry their wet things.

‘Just throw them over the chairs on the pa­tio,’ I say.

‘Don’t you have rope and those pincher things?’

Isn’t that how it goes? You sanc­tion cut­ting cor­ners and some­one wants to go for au­then­tic­ity.

We string the rope from one end of the ham­mock frame to an­other and voila, a portable clothes­line.

Their drip­ping wet ar­ti­cles flap in

As one of the GRANDS has a won­der­ful time WASH­ING a table­cloth, I have a WON­DER­FUL time SIT­TING in the shade watching her work. There’s noth­ing like WATCHING some­one else on TASK.

the breeze and they push the ham­mock around the yard to fol­low the sun.

Later that night I re­trieve their things from the clothes­line. The small table­cloth and lit­tle dresses are stiff, as are most things that dry in the wind.

At 10pm, I push a few but­tons on the wash­ing ma­chine and toss their tiny things in with a load of tow­els.

It’s not a chore; it’s a de­light.

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