Whenever I iron I always think of my friend Rita.
We met when I was two years old.
Her mother used to like to tell the story of how, when she was shoveling her driveway, I marched up to her wearing my bright pink snowsuit and said, “Hi! My name is Robin! Do you have any kids my age I can play with?”
I find it rather implausible at aged two I would have said that, but I WAS a precocious kid (read that as: chatterbox!) so….maybe….
Rita and I became BFF’s.
We played at each other’s houses, as kids do, but I much preferred when she came to my house. When I went to her house it seemed like she was always arguing with her mother. About the silliest of things!
As we grew older the arguments continued being ridiculous.
The one I remember the most was about ironing.
My mother and I were having a visit and we were all sitting around the kitchen table, Rita’s mother, my mother and I as Rita stood at the ironing board working on a blouse. Her mother was picking on every little thing Rita did as she worked.
“You’re doing it wrong! You should do it this way! Don’t do that!”…and on and on.
Rita responded with a lot of, “But mother…..”
My mother saw that Rita was getting upset. She said to her, “Sweetie, (mom always liked to call people she cared about sweetie. You knew you were in her good graces if she bestowed the term on you!) If you iron the smaller places first they won’t get re-wrinkled as you move the garment around. Do the collar first, then the sleeves, around the buttons and then the rest. It will come out much crisper that way.”
“That’s what I’ve been telling her!” Rita’s mother exclaimed.
Except it wasn’t what she’d been SAYING.
Later, as my mother and I were walking home she turned to me and said, “Do you understand the difference in the way I spoke to Rita and the way her mother did? Words can be like weapons. Chose them wisely.”
Every time I iron, I think of Rita and the lesson I learned that day.
(and the lesson about ironing too!)