Recently, as I undid the wooden pegs that held you to the clothes line, I finally decided that this was the last time you'd know the thrill of flapping in the wind.
Still pristine white from all the bleaching you've endured, your decades of service have taken their toll; you're holey and thin enough to see through in places.
"Yes," I reassured myself, "it's time. Time to retire this long-serving piece of linen."
My mistake? Placing you carefully beside the other April-smelling laundry. Throughout my journey from the back deck to the basement room, where the ironing board is stored, my resolve stood firm; it was when I picked you up, intent on taking the pinking shears to your fabric, that my determination began to ebb.
It was memories that caused me to stop and reconsider my decision. Made of the finest quality linen, this particular tea towel has had a place in my kitchen for a good part of my marriage. Given me by one of my precious sisters-in-law, it was graced with her embroidery and lace edging.
Memories of family gatherings, hours of cooking and canning, towel in hand, and thoughts of meals shared with guests were woven into its texture. Somehow to relegate it to the rag pile just seemed wrong. "I'll give you one more week," I said as I pressed the steaming iron across its surface.
As silly as this may seem, that towel, the only one left of the dozens received so many years ago, made me think of friends and family who have enriched my life over the decades. As someone once said, the best things in life aren't things, they're friends. Thank you!
"Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. [They were His dear friends, and He held them in loving esteem.]" (John 11:5 Amplified version)