Posted tagged ‘Chinese laundry’

“I love being home, reading the paper in the morning and having a cup of coffee, doing laundry, going grocery shopping and running daily errands. For me, it’s important to have that balance in my life.”

November 9, 2017

Last night was cold, not quite wintry cold but close enough. Saturday night will be in the 30’s. That’s winter to me. The sun is resting elsewhere so the sky is all over cloudy, not a single break of blue. It is a still day.

I was out yesterday and am going out again today. I can’t remember the last time I was out two days in a row. Maddie and Gracie are my incentives today. They both need canned food, and Gracie is almost out of treats. I also need sunflower seeds. That’s the first stop, Agway. As for me, I’m out of bread and butter. It is a two stop day.

When I was a kid, my parents always went grocery shopping on Friday nights. My father had to take my mother as she didn’t have a driver’s license and wouldn’t have one until after we had moved to the cape. Saturday was my father’s day for errands and chores. When I go by the Chinese laundry still in my home town, I think of my dad. He’d go to the “Chinaman” every Saturday with his long sleeve white shirts. He wore one every day to work and liked them starched. He wouldn’t start wearing colors until much later. I gave him a button down collar yellow shirt for Christmas one year, and that was the start of colors and buttoned down collars. My father surprised me when he abandoned white.

My father seldom deviated from his usual anything. He didn’t easily try new foods and wouldn’t eat familiar foods if they were changed even in the smallest way. The key to my dad was to work around him. When he was here visiting, he ate a pork roast to which I had added garlic in slits around the meat. My dad loved the meal. When my mother was making the same dish, he caught her adding the garlic. He told my mother no way would he eat it. Only shrimp scampi had garlic. He wouldn’t eat hummus because he said it looked like wallpaper paste. Chinese food was exotic to him, a man who loved Spam, sardines and instant coffee.

“Different cocktails for different Saturday nights.”

June 6, 2015

The rain started during the night and has just stopped. Rain, even a bit of it, seems to dampen sounds. I don’t even hear birds. I did hear Gracie barking in the back yard, but I couldn’t find what prompted the warning. She has since come in and settled down for her morning nap, probably exhausted from all her barking. Fern too is napping for no other reason than just because she is a cat, and that’s what cats do.

My list did not get finished yesterday so I have to do the errands today. That’s okay as the tourists aren’t here yet for weekends, other than Memorial Day weekend, so I’ll find a place to park and not have to wait in line. I have three stops.

My father used Saturday mornings for his errands. Sometimes he would invite one of us but mostly he went alone. My Dad knew everybody in town so his errands took a while. He went to a two-seater barber shop. The one in Mayberry always reminded me of the one uptown. There was no Floyd but there was the same barber for years. He never had to ask how my father wanted his hair trimmed. He knew. The Chinese laundry also knew how my father liked his shirts. Back then my father only wore white shirts and they were always starched. I never thought about my dad taking his shirts to a laundry and not having my mother do them. That was just the way it was. Much later my father wore different colored shirts which didn’t need to be ironed fresh from the dryer. The first was a yellow button down collar shirt I gave him one Father’s Day. My mother said he’d never wear it, but he did. Another stop for my father was to visit his friend, a pharmacist at his own drug store. It was a small store crammed with anything and everything that bigger drug stores had. It even had a four stool fountain. Those stools had red covers. The last stop for my dad was sometimes at the Red Men where he’d have a beer with the guys. My dad was a member for a long time and one year was even Sachem. The organization is the nation’s oldest patriotic fraternal organization of American origin. I never knew that until I was much older. I just thought it was place for guys to sit around and have a beer or a drink. Come to find out it is both.

Some days develop personalities. Sunday is church day. Monday is the dreaded back to work day. Tuesday and Thursday are just days of the week that nobody seems to mind. Wednesday is hump day, the middle day, the starting line for the countdown to the weekend. Friday opens the weekend. We used to go out Friday afternoons when there were happy hours. It was a weekly ritual. Saturday is for chores and errands but it the best night of the week. Anything special happens on a Saturday night.

“If you want a neat wife, choose her on a Saturday”

August 12, 2014

I know it’s late, but I met an old friend for lunch. He found me on Facebook and we decided to get together. It was a great day of drinking coffee, eating lunch and catching up with one another. I haven’t seen him in years so we had a lot of this and a lot of that to share.

Yesterday the red spawn lost its mind. I know this because it kept coming back to the feeder despite being hosed by me with the nozzle on jet. I was inside when I first heard the red spawn chatting, clicking and yelling at something so I went outside to investigate. It was on the feeder. I streamed the hose water, and it ran. I sat for a few minutes, and it came back to the feeder. I let him have it again, and he got soaked but not enough to deter him because he came back from a different direction. His spawn brain must have thought I wouldn’t figure that one out. He got squirted then jumped on branches close to me. I actually wondered if he was headed to get me, but when I hosed again, the spawn finally left the yard to go next door. It was chattering the whole while, and I have a feeling he was talking about me.

Today is another lovely day. It is about 76˚ and sunny. Tomorrow it will rain but then on Thursday we’ll be back to another beautiful summer day. We have been spoiled by the perfect weather this season: warm days and cool nights.

When I was young, I really didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to time especially in summer when one day was the same as another. The only exceptions were, of course, the weekends. On Saturday my dad was home. He did yard stuff like mowing and raking and also went up town to do his own errands: shirts to the Chinese laundry, a trim at the barber shop and a stop to say hello to his friend Pulo, the pharmacist in his own drugstore. Once in a while my dad asked me to come, and I would. I liked the Chinese laundry even though it was always hot and steamy. The double ironing board, with a top and bottom, was by the window, and the Chinese laundry man was always ironing pants. He’d hold the top down and steam would shoot out from the sides. He’d then lift the top, turn the pants over, close the machine and steam would shoot out again. I loved watching that machine. My dad’s shirts were always folded and wrapped in brown paper. From the laundry, we’d walk a little bit to the barber shop. Years later I realized that Floyd in Mayberry could very well have worked at my dad’s barber shop. It had only two seats and one barber. All the men sat waiting and chatting with each other. I stood and watched the barber trim my dad’s hair then my dad and I headed over to Pulo’s. While my dad and Mr. Pulo talked, I was given a drink from the soda fountain, usually a vanilla coke. Pulo’s was a small drug store, and there were only four stools at the fountain. Mr. Pulo always wore a white coat and would step from behind the pharmacy part of the store to talk to my dad. That was our last stop. My dad and I would walk back to the car and we’d go home. It didn’t matter how many times I went with my dad on Saturdays because I loved every time as if it were the first.

“An’ it all goes into the laundry But it never comes out in the wash.”

October 9, 2010

The day is inviting. It ‘s warm and sunny. A cardinal was at the feeder this morning, first one I’ve seen in a while. The weather report says 60’s today and 30’s tonight. That sounds like bundling weather to me.

Sometimes my dad would invite me to go uptown with him on a Saturday, his errand day. It made me feel special when he asked. My dad had his route starting with the Chinaman where he picked up his shirts, newly cleaned, pressed and starched.

The Chinese laundry, a long narrow building, had two windows on the front and two more along one side close to the front. The pressing machine was by the side windows, and I used to watch the man press shirts while I waited. He always looked hot and sweaty to me. The steam from the presser made a whooshing sound, and it billowed from the sides when he used it on a shirt. The Chinese man at the counter seldom spoke. He’d take the dirty shirts, always white shirts, wrap them together and hand my father a tag. Then he’d take the old tag from my father, turn around and look on the shelf behind him. It was filled with packages wrapped in brown paper and white string. The man would find my father’s shirts, take his money, and we’d be done, ready to move on to the next errand, but none were anywhere near as interesting as that Chinese laundry.