My mother had a system (of course she did, it is her way!) whose rhythm my sisters and I breathed in.
Saturday mornings were ironing days. Set up in front of the tv (it lived in the only seemly place; the basement) we girls would steam and fold and press our way through the morning. The wrinkled became straight. All was well with the world.
Most of the ironing was my father’s accoutrements: handkerchiefs (iron flat, fold once and iron, fold again into quarters and iron again), shirts (collars, then sleeves, then side back side) and pants (hold them by the cuffs, let them fall, follow the inside seam line to press).
When parties had occured of the special variety, the pile included table linens. They were to be found in the refrigerator. They had been dampened and placed in a bag, thus preparing themselves for the straightening to come. Proper preparation was a part of the rhythm.
Tomorrow is Easter. Following two worship services for me and three for Cooper, we will gather at table with the family we share.
I am readying the table. It is ironing time. I plug in the iron and settle into the rhythm taught decades ago and I am suddenly moved by the ritual of home making. My mother is with me: it is her wedding table-cloth I am smoothing. My father’s mother is with me: some of the napkins came to me by way of her trousseau.
As I stand at the ironing board, celebrations of years past flood my heart. Faces and laughter and feasts thrum in me and while I try to practice short cuts by not preparing the table-cloth as my mother taught me (I have not sprinkled and refrigerated!), I laugh at life and learning and being.
Of course my mother’s methods were right. Try as I might to shorten or dance from them, I give up trying to get the table cloth to behave according to my schedule. I go downstairs, wet it, bundle it in a plastic bag and close the refrigerator door with a smile. My mom was right. There is a seemly way to things. Preparation matters. Sometimes it is ok to acknowledge that.
Rhythm, ritual and savor.
Holy, holy, holy.