1.29.2015

Drying Linens

From the Shaker Village Get-Away:

At Pleasant Hill, back in the day, Shaker 'sisters' were expected to spend most of the day 
glorifying God through work in the kitchens, the weaving rooms, or the laundry buildings...  
Women of all ages labored in this small set of rooms and turned out 
clean clothes and linens for hundreds of people. 

Can you feel the peace of drying linens racked so closely, a concrete display of 
joyful community, each owner represented by initials carefully sewn on a cloth corner or seam?
 Or could there be hints of competition here? 
Did certain pieces always win space on upper racks ...
whose linens were the most carefully made, woven in the most brilliant patterns ...
which linens displayed the neatest stitches? 
I wonder if it was it peaceful, truly, among those Shaker laundresses 
in early January of the 1800s?
* photo of the restored laundry rooms as they would have looked in the early 1800s 

Side Note:
When my sons were small, they were blessed with the same good health that most American children enjoy. But when they became sick with whatever virus was going around,  I took pleasure in playing the mamma-caretaker to each, and maybe even spoiled them a little bit. Women often complain that men are such babies when illness strikes - this sort of indulgence by mothers like me might be the reason.savored any opportunity to snuggle one of my sweet little boys who would normally be running, leaping and squirming to get away. 

Now my sons are mostly-grown, all tall and strong - I'm so grateful for them. When they get ill, to my amazement, they find the appropriate over-the-counter medication and dose themselves. They judge when, or IF, a doctor will be called. It's crazy! Just one more thing I always did for my children which they now do for themselves. 

For the last six months, one of my sons has faced the challenge of an auto-immune disease. He regularly drives himself to the doctor and endures a difficult procedure with admirable fortitude. Early this morning he came downstairs with resolve painted across his face; he shrugged into his coat, grabbed his keys and (again) turned down my offer to come along. 

But he did let me linger a tiny bit longer than usual on the goodbye hug.




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