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 A lovely dark cherry wood armoire sits in my bedroom, part of a set we purchased when we got the new house nearly twenty years ago. I had no idea what to put in it, but it was pretty, it matched the other pieces we were buying at the same time, and best of all, we actually had space in the room to put such a luxurious thing and still have room to walk. Over the years it’s held all kinds of clothes, shoes, and handbags; you name it and it’s probably had a home there, at least for a short while.

The top shelf has always been a repository for my scribbles. It would be great to say that some of my writing actually turned into a book, but somehow the bits and pieces seldom quite gel into complete stories. Still, it pleases me to go back and look over some of the tidbits every once in a while. My mom, bless her, would remember some piece from years ago and tell me, “Why don’t you take that one out and work on it some more? It was always one of my favorites.” I don’t think I ever wrote anything that wasn’t her favorite.

For now, the short story sections still sit there like cast-off body parts, waiting for a strong torso to hold them together. With any luck,I’ll be around long enough to stitch some of them up and share. In the meantime, there are always slice-of-life bits like this, which I wrote many years ago. It’s still pretty much true.

THE IRON

I got the iron out yesterday. It was like meeting someone from long-ago high school days and feeling only the slightest tinge of recognition. That’s the way I like it.

I do remember the days when Monday was for washing and Tuesday for ironing, but in that long ago past I was a mere child who got paid for ironing—10 cents for a blouse, 15 cents for a pair of jeans, and a bargain price for a handful of handkerchiefs. Now when I go shopping I choose carefully among the clothes on the rack at May Company and make sure I actually carry home only those with the greatest likelihood of being truly wash-and-wear. My garments are permanent press, my iron is permanently stored away.

Actually, I bought a new iron last year, one with a large price tag and a list of features that would do justice to a luxury car. I figured that all the options would make my life easier when I finally have to deal with the few Ironables I still own. It spritzes. It sprays. It steams. It has a thousand and one heat settings ranging from “Why bother?” to “Are you nuts?” The only thing it doesn’t do is crawl back and forth over the fabric by itself. I put it in the cupboard the day I brought it home, and I’ve never taken it out again until now.

It’s a heavy thing, with dozens of steam vents in the soleplate and a clever connection designed to keep the cord from tying itself in knots as I grumble myself through the stack of Ironables that’s been accumulating for months. When I picked it up yesterday, I remembered why I had ignored it for so long.

I picked it up. I set it down.

I contemplated the shirts and skirts and pants I hadn’t worn for ages. I held the first blouse up to the light and decided that I really don’t like wearing this one after all—it went into the rummage bag. Those green pants were probably too small anyway, and NOBODY wears that kind of skirt anymore . . . In a very few minutes, the rummage bag was full and the ironing pile was empty. The lovely, expensive, heavy iron was still cold.

I wrapped the cord neatly and tucked it into the handle. The iron went back into the cupboard, where it sits quiet and ready on the third shelf in case I ever need it.

Just the way I like it.

I’ll see you again, after the commercial.

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