For about a year, the clothes dryer that has served the Hughes household for way over a decade, has been making very strange noises. It sounded like the tub might be moaning and groaning with each turn, like a car’s wheel running on the rim when the tire is long gone. But it continued to dry our clothes.
The MOTH, during some of his years with Georgia Power, was in the appliance repair department. He learned a lot about all kinds of appliances and he always kept our electric appliances in top condition. But this dryer stymied him.
A couple of times he tinkered with it, took it apart, put it back together. Occasionally it would go through an entire cycle without a single rattle. But its demise was, while not predictable as to when, inevitable. It would happen, as most such memorable glitches, at a most inopportune time.
There was sickness in our home, doctors’ visits, medications, anxiety. Our calendar was already filled and left little space for illness or mechanical breakdowns. There was a high school graduation, a school reunion, two family reunions, the library anniversary, and the usual family birthdays and school and church activities.
There is no maid at our house to take up the slack, and one Sunday morning I broke all the rules by loading up the washer to run during breakfast. That load could dry after church while another load was washing. Yeah, right. It didn’t happen.
The dryer had ceased and deceased. Monday found me and daughter Sarah at Lowe’s, choosing a dryer as near as possible the same as my old reliable one. We paid, gave contact information for delivery and were told that I would receive a call that night as to delivery time the next day. But no call came, so early Tuesday, I called them.
It seems the salesperson had put the wrong delivery date on the order. Later that day, a recorded message greeted me when I answered the phone. Delivery would be the next day between 4 and 6 p.m. In the meantime, there was a death in the community and we needed to go to visitation around 6. But not to worry.
When the delivery people called again, it was to say they were on their way at 4! What a surprise. True to their word, they were on time. And in no time they efficiently removed the old lifeless dryer, and we hurriedly swept and cleaned the space to make way for the new one. Life is good.
The dryer fits nicely. All the knobs are familiar. The lint trap is new and improved, honestly. And the woman of the house is happier with a new dryer than with diamonds or dancing shoes.
Although we complain about modern technology and wish for the good old days, I think most of us would readily admit that the advantages outweigh the pitfalls. It’s easier to be thankful for such wonderful inventions if we have memories of the way of life when they weren’t around.
Time was when we couldn’t observe “wash day” on Monday if it was raining. And there was no weather forecast based on radar and broadcast on TV. The words radar and TV were not in our vocabulary.
We could not know about approaching thunderstorms so we could run to the clothesline and bring in the clothes that might or might not be dry. And when it did rain, the wash tubs had to be outside to catch the rainwater for the next wash day.
My memories of that part of wash day are dim. I remember very well, though, when we finally had water running in pipes from the Big Spring into the house. And with that water “on tap” and the Maytag washer, made to last a lifetime, wash day was forever changed.
I know city folks used to make fun of mountain folks whose washing machines were often on the front porch. But it was their prized possession. Would you park your BMW behind the house?
And besides, mountain homes weren’t built with laundry rooms. There was not a spot in the kitchen or living room or bedrooms for a newfangled machine. From an iron wash pot in the back yard to a coveted space on the front porch was a giant step for women folk.
And from a sagging clothesline strung between two poles to a fancy machine hidden from sight, it’s yet another miraculous step.
Juanita Hughes is retired head of the Woodstock Library.