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Have Iron, Will Travel 2

August 25, 2014 - Mike Donahey

The humidity is skyrocketing, air conditioners are humming, and one can break a sweat standing in the shade drinking an ice cold tea.

So why I am writing about ironing?

After all, ironing is not just a seasonal duty, it is year around in this writer's book.

Go ahead, make my day by calling me effeminate, nerdy or traditional, but only one — traditional — will stick. My better half, who has known me many years, will back me up big time.

So, what is wrong with getting a sense of accomplishment after putting a wrinkled item on an ironing board and smoothing it all out with a hot, steaming iron? Be they pants, shirts or sport coats — I like to do all.

(And no, I do not iron my underwear, although I understand some people do iron theirs).

My late mother, late mother-in-law and spouse all have taught this writer ironing's tricks of the trade.

Even though mom passed away nine years ago, I can stills see her standing behind the ironing board, dutifully ironing her family's clothes, while watching television with the family.

The clothes needing ironing seemed endless.

Those were the days before permanent press, and seemingly everything had to be ironed. Plus, with a family of five kids and two adults, she had much to do.

It was an era before irons ejected water or steam. I can still see mom dipping her fingers in a cup or bowl of water and sprinkling droplets on the clothes. Thinking back, her iron had only two controls, hot and off. It was also a time when some women in in our neighborhood “took in” ironing — meaning, they ironed other people’s clothes for money.

I started regularly ironing my own clothes many years ago when I held a job that required a dress shirt, slacks, tie, sport coat or suit Monday through Thursday.

Regardless, practice, practice and more practice made me adept at ironing those items, but learned a key lesson from my wife on how to delicately press ties by checking the tie’s fabric, lowering the iron’s heat and putting a dish towel over the tie,followed by the iron — just for a few seconds. It worked well and I didn’t ruin any ties.

My skills are not limited to home. I’ve ironed "on the road" many, many times. One of the first things I check in a motel room is the ironing board and iron.

Approximately four years ago our family attended a wedding and I brought my best suit. Alas, it had become wrinkled sitting in a folded bag during a six hour drive. Again, from experience, I was able to iron out wrinkles — and it looked great.

I have ironed my wife and daughter’s clothes as well. They’ve trusted me to do the job before big occasions, and I am sure they would again.



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