52: Washday Worries

52: Washday Worries

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Amazing Mom

Washday Worries

Keep your chin up, trust in God, and believe in good things to come.

~Jeffrey R. Holland

Dad’s words bounced off the cellar walls: “This old thing is shot for good, and that’s all there is to it.”

“Say it isn’t so,” Mom whispered, as she contemplated trekking to the laundromat during the heat of summer to keep up with the wash for our family of seven. That meant several loads of wash in a shopping cart along with an entourage of kids toting coloring books and crayons.

“What are you looking for?” my mother asked as I sat on the back porch that evening staring up at the sky.

“I’m looking for a lucky star so I can wish on it and get us a new washing machine.”

“You go right ahead, Annie, but it will do you no harm to whisper in God’s ear while you’re at it. We need all the help we can get.”

To my mom, good luck was a gift God reserved for those who kept in regular contact with him. Mom hopped on prayer duty the moment Dad declared the old washer beyond resuscitation.

I didn’t want to take any chances, so I found a shining star, declared it lucky, made my wish, and slipped a few humble words in God’s ear about how much my mom needed a new washing machine.

Every day, I awoke hoping I’d witness a washing machine floating down from the clouds. After all, Mom was praying like mad, and I had wished on a lucky star. It was just a matter of time.

Meanwhile, we toted the dirty laundry to the laundromat every few days as predicted. When we weren’t coloring, Mom kept my sister Marie and me busy sorting and folding clothes to distract us from making racecars out of the wash baskets on wheels.

Though Mom had full faith that God would answer our prayers, she cautioned me not to count on a spectacle. She believed God would shoot a good-luck beam in our direction through the subtle path of the classified ads as opposed to my theory of a parachuting household appliance.

That goes to show just how smart moms are. About three weeks into our ordeal, she spied an ad in the local paper. A nearby apartment house was replacing its washers and dryers. The ad said their current appliances were all in working order and available “for cheap”—no price mentioned.

Mom called right away and learned that for twenty dollars we could stop dragging our wash to the laundromat. She’d have to cut corners to come up with the money, but it was worth it. To top off our good-luck streak, the building manager owned a pickup truck and was willing to deliver for no extra charge.

When he arrived the next morning, Mom practically skipped to the front door with a crisp twenty-dollar bill in her hand. This certainly was a red-letter day for the Tait family.

Imagine her surprise when asked if she wanted “the pair of them” brought through the front door or the back.

“Pair of them?” she said. “I only bought one washing machine.”

“That’s right, lady,” he replied. “You bought one washing machine and one dryer.”

“There must be some misunderstanding. I only have twenty dollars for the washer.”

“It’s twenty dollars for the set. Do we have a deal?”

From the look on her face, I didn’t know if she was going to faint or kiss him. She did neither, but when he raised an eyebrow at Mom’s freshly baked chocolate-chip cookies cooling in the kitchen, she made sure he left with a sackful.

We had walked through the valley of no washing machine and emerged with bragging rights to a genuine clothes dryer in the bargain. Talk about lucky!

After Dad hooked up the washer, our whole family went down to the cellar to check it out. The sparkling pale pink machine stood proudly in the spot where, just three weeks prior, the carcass of our old, dilapidated washer slumped in ruins. It was a sight to behold.

It wasn’t until we were all admiring the washer that I noticed it had a coin slot just like the ones at the Laundromat. What a novelty! When we slid the quarter into the coin slot on this one, Dad fixed it so that it returned to us—every single time. Nobody else on our block could boast of owning a coin-operated washer, let alone one that actually returned the quarter.

A few days later, Dad installed the dryer. But even after it was operational, Mom only used it when bad weather prevented her from hanging the clothes outside on the line. She always said that owning a dryer was no excuse for wasting gas and electricity when the sun shines right outside the door for free.

Whenever we were in a fix, Mom always led the way with a good sense of humor and a whisper in God’s ear to lend a hand. I think this is the most valuable lesson Mom never set out to teach me, but I learned it just the same.

~Annmarie B. Tait

You are currently enjoying a preview of this book.

Sign up here to get a Chicken Soup for the Soul story emailed to you every day for free!

Please note: Our premium story access has been discontinued (see more info).

view counter

More stories from our partners