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