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"Have iron, will travel"

May 7, 2012 - Mike Donahey
I like to iron clothes.

Call me traditional, nerdy or effeminate but only one — traditional — will stick. My better half, who has known me many years, will back me up.

Put simply, I find it fulfilling to put a wrinkled or even slightly wrinkled item on an ironing board and smoothing all out with a hot, steaming iron. Be they pants, shirts or sport coats — I like to do all.

I had three excellent teachers — my late mother, late mother-in-law and spouse. On many nights years ago, mom placed the ironing board in the living room and would iron one or two large basket-loads of clothes while watching television with family. Those were pre permanent press days 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. Mom would dip her fingers in a cup or bowl of water and sprinkle droplets on the clothes. Thinking back, her iron had only two controls, hot and off. It was also a time when some women in our neighborhood “took in” ironing — meaning they ironed other people’s clothes for extra money.

I started regularly ironing my own clothes many years ago when I held a job which most days required a dress shirt, slacks, tie, sport coat or suit. Regardless, I became adept at ironing most, but learned from my wife 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 an ironing board and iron.

Two 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.

However, readers, don’t get any ideas to call or email asking me to do ironing for pay — I’m busy enough at the Times-Republican.


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