giving thanks: day of gratitude #2 ~

Giving thanks, laundry

Today is day 2 of giving thanks month (more commonly known as Thanksgiving month… ????). It takes an entire month just to scratch the surface of all this life offers!

One of my ‘superficial’ — but not really! — gratitudes is a washing machine. Seriously: I told my husband, before we married to move to his new job in Algeria, that I would NOT wash our laundry by hand. And I didn’t: I found the only laundromat in the city of Alger, and spent one day a week doing laundry. IN A MACHINE, the way the universe intended!

Each week I schlepped our laundry in the carpool we shared w/ ‘the bachelors,’ 4 single guys. Since the care was a tiiiiny Renault, putting the 6 of us in it, as well as a week’s laundry, was no small accomplishment. I would parse out our linens, our darks & lights, into the small washing machines, & visit w/ the woman who owned the laundromat. At lunch, I would leave my laundry (with her permission) & walk a mile or more downhill the Didouche Mourad (the main drag) to my husband’s office. We’d  have lunch, and then I’d climb the many many steps back uphill to the laundromat. I’d bring a book from the Consulate library, and read until it was time to go home. The guys would pick me up, we’d cram the neatly folded clean laundry into the boot of the R4, and home we’d go.

I have no idea how many THOUSANDS of loads of laundry I’ve done in my life. Suffice to say, I will remember laundry as a defining element of parenthood. Beginning w/ infancy, into sports clothes, then the clothes that come home w/ college kids… I’m not kidding: I sooo hate laundry that when my husband was working overseas, we figured out the time by how many laundry days it would be before we saw each other again.

Don’t take your 1st world blessings for granted, folks. I think of Saliha, who lived across from in that long ago city of Algers. With 10 living children (not including 4 still birth/miscarriages), she did the laundry for ALL OF THEM by hand. In her kitchen sink, across the ventilator shaft from my own. We would stand beside our windows as she plunged garment after garment into hot water. Visiting to while away women’s work.

So no, I almost never take my appliances for granted! And certainly not my washing machine! Giving thanks for it is, in a small way, honouring the millions of women throughout the world who have so little when I have so much. Which is another thing to be grateful: my life of plenty. Including a washer, dryer, and so many other ‘ordinary’ conveniences…


Published by: Britton Gildersleeve

Writer Britton Gildersleeve grew up in Southeast Asia, moved to the Middle East when she married, and returned to Oklahoma to raise her two sons. Now that they're grown, she and her beloved live in Virginia, where she can be closer to sons, daughter-in-law, & grandsons. Sometimes she hears voices, so she writes ~ And she drinks a lot of tea.

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