Scratchy towels

STEPPING NAKED and wet from the upstairs shower stall this morning, I grabbed a fresh towel to dry myself, and it was scratchy and very nice.

I don’t understand the fixation on soft towels, fabric softener and so on. A scratchy towel is like a loofah pad. It’s invigorating, and you get dry at the same time.

We dry our clothes on a line in the sunshine under a clear acrylic roof out back. The first eight years we didn’t have the acrylic roof, so drying clothes during the five-month rainy season was a challenge. Sometimes, clothes would dangle out there for days awaiting a sunbeam.

When we built the Hacienda, we had a gas line installed next to the drain and faucets for a washer. We bought the washer, a nice Whirlpool that’s never given us a lick of trouble, but we never bought the gas dryer, and we’ve never missed it. A dryer would give us soft towels, and I’d miss the loofah thrill.

I’ve never purchased a clothes dryer in my life, though some abodes I’ve rented came with them. I used them when they were available because my fondness for scratchy towels was something that appeared later in life, like a good wife.

Some places I’ve rented came with dishwashers too, and I cannot imagine a more useless thing.

When I lived in Houston, married to Wife No. 2, we owned our home, but we never bought a washer or dryer. I was in charge of clothes washing, which likely had something to do with the fact that she worked days and I worked nights, so I had afternoons off. Once a week I would drive to a laundromat with a book and dirty clothes, which I would wash, dry and fold.

She always found clean, folded clothes and, often, a nice supper waiting for her when she got home evenings. I would already be gone to work. In many respects, she had a darn sweet deal.

Speaking of loofah pads, I once grew loofah gourds on a trellis in the back yard of the Houston home. They are an interesting phenomenon, and come with an outer shell that you must peel and break off. Then you’ve got yourself some mighty fine loofahs.

If you ever spend a night at the Hacienda, don’t expect soft towels.

Expect invigoration.

* * * *

What’s the photo got to do with anything? Nothing much. I was sitting downtown at a coffee shop today with a hot espresso, and I noticed how deserted the street and sidewalk were, which is quite unusual. It was about 4 p.m. I took this photo, which is nicer than a photo of a towel. ¿No?

22 thoughts on “Scratchy towels

  1. Funny you should mention the clothes dryer. I have one, but I can go years without using it. But just yesterday, I tossed the nearly-dry, freshly washed heavy cotton comforter in the dryer, just to give both a much-needed whirl. Now I can go another year without using the dryer.


    1. Ms. Shoes: Speaking of comforters, I don’t think one can beat a goose-down version. They are like electric blankets on a cold night, but you’re not surrounding yourself with bizarre electric rays that may turn you into a large tumor before sunrise.


    1. Ray: That is sad to hear but not a surprise. My mother used to hang the clothes on a line in our back yard in Jacksonville. Oddly, I do not remember a clothesline at my grandmother’s place in Georgia, but there must have been one. There certainly was no dryer or washer either. The clothes were washed by Willie in a big, black cast-iron pot. Willie did that at her shack down the dirt road, so the line must have been there too, which would explain why I do not remember one at my grandmother’s house.


      1. The only time we used the dryer was in the winter when I was growing up. Clothes dried on a line smell like sunshine.

        The other day I saw an old black lady out in the country putting her clothes on the shrubbery around the house to dry.

        I should go back by sometime and put her up a line…


  2. We hang the clothes to dry inside the house. If we did it outside, someone else would be wearing them.

    Oh, by the way, there was a “draw Mohammed” contest in Phoenix. It was held just outside the mosque about a mile south of my house. I kept myself inside, awaiting the gunshots. It didn’t happen. The cops showed up and kept it quiet. The guy that organized it is hiding out now. Want to bet on whether or not he keeps his head? You just don’t tease a rabid dog.


    1. Señor Gill: Yes, I know about the Phoenix event. I think that if the organizer lays low for a few weeks, people will forget about him, even the savage Mohammedans. It will blow over. I support him, and that woman in Garland, Texas, too.

      Sorry you cannot hang clothes outside. I recall your previous revelations about your housing situation. Pathetic.


  3. When I was 12, I moved in with my dad. He was 62, and we had to make weekly trips to the laundromat. I don’t miss that time. Looking back, it probably seemed depressing to me. But I gained a skill that I would use the rest of my life, as well as ironing clothes.


    1. Francisco: I actually enjoyed laundry day in Houston, and I can iron with the best of them, even though I don’t have to anymore. My wife does it.


  4. You will probably not be surprised that I prefer the feel of soft towels and sheets. That is why, each Wednesday, I bundle up my laundry and take it to Magui in Villa Obregon. She has been putting out class work in the several years I have used her services.


    1. Señor Cotton: Nope, not surprised at all. Anyone who takes a tux on a cruise has high-falootin’ notions up the kazoo. Sadly, you will never know the many joys we common folk embrace on a daily basis. Like loofah towels.


  5. While living in Honduras I gained new appreciation for the clothesline, although I had one before moving to Central America. Since moving back to Louisiana, I put one up in the backyard. I had to special order an octagonal one from a hardware store. This one can easily be taken down for storms, and it dries efficiently in a small amount of space. I still use the dryer occasionally on rainy days or when I have a large batch of towels as I don’t like scratchy towels particularly. I love the smell of sheets coming in off the line. There is jasmine and other good-smelling stuff in the brush and woods near my home. The sun is free and awfully hot in these parts, so why not?


  6. I would love to have my own dishwasher and clothes dryer, but one has to make some sacrifices living in Mexico. The advantages of living in Mexico far outweigh the disadvantages. I could care less how fluffy my towels are, as long as they are dry.


    1. Dishwasher? Ah, Andrés, how you disappoint me. And a clothes dryer, even gas ones, will do a number on your utility bill, which is why we do not have one.


  7. Despite the inconvenience, there’s a certain efficiency in going to a laundromat. When I was a student in Houston, I had a lot of clothes, so I could go six weeks without doing laundry. Finally, once the mountain of dirty clothes threatened to take over the apartment, I’d bundle it all into the car and go off the the laundromat. There I could run six machines at a time. Though there would be an initial 30 minutes or so of calm where I could read a book, once the washers started to finish, it would become very busy. Then as things dried, I’d be very busy folding, and all in all, I could do six weeks of laundry in about an hour and a half, far faster than I’d ever be able to do so at my present abode which has only one washer and dryer.

    As for dishwashers, I used to be of your opinion, but when I moved to Boston 20 years ago, I got a place with one, and now I regard it as indispensable. Saves water too.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we are a bit horrified by the fact that there are places in America where line-drying is prohibited. Yup. Prohibited.


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