Thursday, March 23, 2006

Nathan Zabrosky...2031

When looking back on the sounds of my childhood, mixed in with the sounds of laughter, music and the microwave cooking up dinner, I remember my mother talking to the laundry.
She didn't do laundry very often. There never was a "Laundry Day" in our house, just a "Hey Mom, I'm All Out of Clothes Day."

So my mom would park herself, bowing in front of the gleaming white washer (she had an odd need to keep it sparkling clean) and talk to the clothes. She would groan at the stains that slipped by and sweet talk the marks on a favorite shirt. All done over the sounds of a pumping spray bottle.

As much as she believed in God, Jesus Christ and the TV show "Friends" to make her laugh, she also believed in the power of stain removers. My mom never stuck to one kind either. She brand hopped and consistency jumped in the attempt to eradicate stains from the lives of her family. Although she was most partial to a subtle mix of the Shout Gel, Spray-n-Wash and a daub of the Clorox Bleach Pen. That's right, her bravery took her to concocting mixtures of all the stain fighters onto one garment.

The laundry took hours in my home. After talking to the clothes and throwing them in the washer (and after watching the beginning of the wash cycle swish and swirl through the front loading machine’s glass door-something that always thrilled her) my mother would hover over the machine, waiting for the "Laundry Complete" buzzer to sound. The magical glass door was thrown open and the clothes were up for inspection. Nothing could hide from my mom's watchful, stain fighting sight and the muttering, spraying, smudging and daubing began again. My mom refused to allow a stain to get the better of her and was known to wash my sister's shirts 3 or 4 times until the stain finally gave up. To quote her often heard phrase, "You picked a fight with the wrong mommy."

Now, 26 years later, I mutter at my own clothes and while my apartment washroom doesn’t give me the privacy my mom’s garage did, I too find myself sticking around for the magical beginning of the wash cycle through the glass door.

-Nathan Alexander Zabrosky, Age 28

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