Monday, October 12, 2009
Fight For Your Right to Dry!
Clothes, that is. I am learning of a growing debate in this country over the right to hang out clothes to dry. I have never given this much thought, having lived (outside of college) in either semi--rural areas or small towns all my life. As a consequence, there has never been anyone to tell me what I could or could not do in my back yard. Such is apparently not the case throughout most of urban America. Clothesline proponents, as well as backyard chicken enthusiasts, are taking cities to court to reverse such prohibitions. I find it refreshing to hear of these sporadic outbreaks of common sense.
We have always had a clothesline. My mother used a clothesline. My mother-in-law used a clothesline, as did all our ancestors for time immemorial. It is remarkable to think that such a rhythm of life has been almost erased within the last 50 years--so much so, that most young people today do not even know what a clothes pin is, thinking it a potato chip bag clip.
I didn't incorporate all the lessons my mother tried to instill in me, but one I did take to heart was this: a clothes dryer uses more electricity than anything else in a house. My mother did have a clothes dryer. She bought it in 1973, I believe, and it was the same one in her house at her death in 1999. I do not recall seeing it ever actually used, however.
Like I say, we have always had a clothesline at our house. Our neighbors don't seem to mind, or if they do, they know better than to say anything. Since an elderly acquaintance of ours went to the nursing home, it seems that we and my sister-in-law are the only two remaining clothes-hanger-outers in our little town--at least on our side of town, anyway. We do have a clothes dryer, much like the lantern in the closet--there for emergencies. It was my brother's. When he died in 1984, we got the dryer, as we were the only ones without at that time. Two years ago, it started making a squeaky sound. We replaced the belt and it is probably good for another 25 years. If it is cold and rainy, we use the dryer--but only for sheets and towels. Everything else is either hung up on door frames or ceiling fans, or draped across chairs.
It is gratifying to know that one is actually ahead of the curve on a coming trend. I think a culture concerned with legislating open garage doors, dog poop and backyard clothesline is too silly by half. And for those of you considering using these "wind energy drying devices," the owners of the clothes in the picture above know what they are doing. Notice that the pockets of the jeans are pulled out. They dry faster that way.