The best day of the year

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by Jackie Alfonso | March 30, 2009 • On Saturday, after nearly five months, the sheets were hung on the clothesline. The whole ritual of washing the line with warm water, tightening any loose lines, hanging up the clothespin bag, is true joy.

I wait impatiently for this day all through the cold. In October, I launder all the sheets, pillowcases and blankets and shut them in the linen closet. For quite some time they still smell of fresh air. But this year felt especially long, without a single day warm enough to open a few windows. At last the outdoors can come inside.

A magazine article about new housing developments in California said they were adding covenants forbidding clotheslines. How sad that clean, fresh clothing has become somehow shameful. We have made far too much of a good life forbidden, we have taken away nearly every physical activity and then complain about obesity, and this one simple task that can give such pleasure is banned as ungenteel, so we must use electricity to carry it out.

At the same time, of course, people were already out raking, but the soil is not thawed. Although repeatedly told to wait until the soil is thawed and dry before raking, they seem to leap at the first remotely possible time to get out and tear up the grass. Why not hang clean clothes instead?

Our neighborhood turkey seems to have wandered off, perhaps in search of company. She made it through the -30º, so I assume this far gentler weather is no problem. She was great fun to watch, and even seemed to catch on at last that she needn’t run away as soon as she saw me or the other neighbors who fed her. The only problem she had was caused by the nitwit who ran down her partner and drove away. The whole neighborhood was devastated. She disappeared for a couple of weeks and reappeared in a new place, out of the wind but solitary/

I wonder if she will come and eat the tomatoes later on.

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