Friday, October 19, 2012
Hand Washing on A Rub Board, A Blessing
You gotta love a washboard on a sunny day. What? You say you think there is something wrong with me on more than one level? Nay, on many levels.
First, a rub board is green. Face it, no electricity, same water is used for the entire week’s worth of clothes, in order of course - whites to darks - and three tubs; wash, rinse, final rinse. You just use less water. You hang the clothes on a line, no electricity, and you really figure out what ‘fresh’ smells like.
That’s a good reason, a fashionable and popular reason to hand wash, but that is not the real reason, not what motivates me.I am not the only one in the world who hand washes clothing. It is part of entire cultures right here in the great Midwest, remember the Amish? There are plenty of people who still hand wash, all for different reasons.
As I scrub each piece of clothing I have time to think about the one who wears it, and I can say a prayer for that one. I can relive a memory and share a forgotten laugh. For me, it’s also back to nature, it’s time to reflect, time to be thankful for what I have, and time to dream and plan.
As I settle down to really scrubbing the gunk out of the white socks I recall the most spiritual Easter weekend I ever spent with my children. We did not go to church, we became church. We went camping and escaped this worldly realm to experience life as pilgrims in Jerusalem on the very week that Jesus returned, triumphant but riding on a donkey. I wash my socks as we washed our socks in the waters of the Jordan river (the lake) and recalled these stories as if we were there, watching them, from the man carrying the water and directing the disciples to the upper room, to the devastating after noon of torture and death, to the morning when the women returned to the tomb only to find it empty. I recall my daughter’s innocent voice “Mommy, they have taken our eggs and we know not where they have laid them.” And we went out searching for eggs. I am blessed that I have this time to hand wash my clothes.
Washing a week’s worth of dirty clothes, sheets, and towels can bring a family closer, too. You disagree? Picture this: 5 tubs of water, the first with soap, the rest to rinse, and when the wash water gets too dirty, it gets dumped and fresh water is added, it becomes the final rinse and soap is added to the next tub, the one that was first rinse. You sit at the first tub, the wash tub with the rub board, your young son sits next to you, first rinse. You can show him the fine art of sloshing while you discuss other important things, like being scared the first time you rode the school bus. Next comes young daughter, rinsing and looking for missed stains. She gets to check details and return imperfect work to ‘the scrubber’ a fun precursor to the health profession. Last rinse falls to older daughter. She is the final judge, then Dad wrings and hangs. And through out the event, we are able to talk, really talk. I am blessed to have this memory and this time to relive it. I miss my children.
I am in a long line of hand washers, sometimes there was no choice, sometimes it was convenience, but it is the chore that binds us together and makes us stronger.
Hey, but all that aside, I get time to sort out my stressors and take my ‘grrr’ out on something that can’t say ‘ouch!’ And, just between you and me, right now, I do it out of stubbornness. The hubby said I spend too much money! Yea, right.
Now, if someone happens to remember any of this in a different light, please feel free to click on that comment button and share your experiences.