6: Help with the Laundry

6: Help with the Laundry

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Touched by an Angel

Help with the Laundry

Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever.

~Author Unknown

After my dad died, my two older sisters found pennies in the most unlikely spots as they went about their daily lives. They were convinced the pennies were tokens from Dad, reassuring them that he was thinking about them and in a good place. Pennies from Heaven, if you will. I didn’t find any pennies, and was despondent that they got messages from Dad and I didn’t. Thankfully my daughter’s summer softball season arrived. Looking for pennies from my dad took a back seat to the excitement of watching my daughter’s games.

One tournament weekend, my daughter’s team was playing on fields close to where my dad was born. One of my duties as an official Team Mom was to make sure the girls had clean uniforms for the following day. So after the games on Saturday, I collected all the girls’ dirty uniforms and headed to the hotel laundry room.

Access to the laundry room required a hotel room key. When I walked in, I saw another team mom starting the dry cycle on her team’s uniforms. We nodded politely to each other. She then sat in the chair closest to the door and watched a show on the TV mounted on the wall. I hummed as I separated dark clothes from light, sprayed stain remover on everything, and then filled two washing machines with the team’s dirty clothes.

I heard a knock at the laundry room door and glanced at the other team mom sitting near the door, but she was immersed in her TV show. So I went to door, and looking through the small security window, I saw my co-team mom Robyn standing outside. Of course, I opened the door for her.

“Hey. How’s everything going?” she asked, as she looked around the long, narrow room.

“Just fine. I’m going to put the quarters in, start the machines and watch television while they run through the cycle.”

“Okay,” she said. “Do you need quarters?”

“No, thanks,” I replied patting my back pocket. “I’m pretty sure I have enough.”

Robyn left and the door shut firmly behind her. I walked back to the washing machines at the far end of the room and dug in my pocket for quarters. I came up three quarters short of the eight I needed.

Rats, I thought, as I remembered the pile of quarters I had left sitting on the nightstand in my room. I turned to the other team mom and held out a wrinkled dollar bill. “Do you have change for a dollar? I don’t have enough quarters for both machines after all.”

She shook her head. “No, I’m just about finished here and I’ve used all my quarters. Sorry.”

I quickly opened the laundry room door, leaned out and shouted down the hallway. “Robyn, I do need some quarters after all. Do you have any?”

Robyn spun around and headed back to where I stood. She handed me four quarters.

“Thanks a lot, sweetie,” I said. “Sorry to be such a ditz.”

Smiling, she waved and left.

After the door closed, I walked back over to the two washing machines. I fumbled a little as I stacked the quarters in my left hand then reached out with my right to load them into the little slots. That’s when I saw the eight shiny, bright quarters that filled every slot on the two machines.

I smiled and turned to the other team mom engrossed in her TV program. “Thank you so much for putting the quarters in the machine for me.”

She looked at me and asked, “What do you mean? I didn’t put any quarters in the machines. I don’t have any more, like I already told you.”

“But here are eight quarters lined up in the slots, four in each machine,” I said.

The woman got up, walked over to the machines and peered at the quarters neatly in the slots. Then she looked me in the eye and said, “I told you, I don’t have any quarters and I certainly didn’t put them in the machines.” She sat back down.

Puzzled, I started the wash cycle, then walked over and sat down next to the other team mom. My mind raced as I tried to figure out what had happened. “So while I was talking with my friend at the door, you didn’t get up, walk over and put the quarters in the machine?”

“No. No, I did not,” the woman said.

“Well, how did the quarters get there then?” I asked.

She didn’t reply. She got up and opened the dryer that had just buzzed. Silently, she took out the clothes, folded them, and turned to leave. As she turned the handle to open the door, she said, “I want you to know that was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen happen.”

Now I’m not saying my dad put those coins into the slots on the machines, but I also can’t figure out how they actually got there. Quarters from Heaven? Perhaps.

~Darlene Sneden

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