Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Ironing is Therapeutic

 Day 2

Ironing is Therapeutic
Darrel L. Hammon

I never liked to iron before.
My mother thought I needed to know,
thinking I would use in on my mission in Chile.
She assigned me the pillow cases and hankies,
a few t-shirts on the side.
I don’t remember ironing shirts,
the most important piece of clothing on a mission.
When the time came to use my skills,
I learned our Chilean maids did everything,
including ironing our shirts,

so I really never ironed,
never felt pressed to do it myself.
Now, ironing has become therapeutic,
a time to think, contemplate the giant problems
of the day and tomorrow.
I guess I could send the shirts to the cleaners,
spend a couple of bucks on each,
gather a bunch of wire hangers
that take up more space than they are worth.
Instead I stand before my ironing board

with my iron full of water,
bursting steam at a given moment
with one touch of a button.
Sometimes I have my earphones in,
listening to the Spanish version of something.
When ready, I just press the steam button,
watch a gush of steam subdue wrinkles
from a 100% Egyptian cotton
or a 60/40 cotton blend shirt
like the problems of the day.

Part of the love of ironing happens
when I iron shirts, particularly white shirts,
in a specific, methodical, and therapeutic way—
first, the collars and shoulders,
one side of the shoulder
and then the other.
Then, the shirt cuffs and sleeves,
one arm at a time.
I like a perfectly pressed crease
in my shirts, no double lines,

just one thin perfectly creased line,
a perfect edge every time.
The second to the last stage is pressing
the right side of the shirt, then rotating it
around until the back is smooth without wrinkles.
The finishing touch is ironing the left side
of the shirt, running the iron up and down,
and then with one last blast of steam
up and down the button holes,
from the top one to the very bottom one.

Finally, I hold up the shirt, admire it
like my wife’s homemade carrot cake
with cream cheese frosting.
Now, I hang it delicately on a special hanger,
worthy of a pressed shirt,
button second button from the top,
inspect it once more, and hang it carefully
in the special place in the closet,
organized by color, with the fronts of the shirts
facing forward, always forward,

just like my life needs to be….


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