Sunday was Day 14 of waiting for FUCKING SEARS (I’m sorry, I’m having really bad feelings about them) to repair our washer, and the dirty laundry situation had reached crisis status. So I decided it was time to break down and lug everything down to the stinking laundromat. I had sworn that once, after 20 years of apartment living, I finally got my own house and laundry room, I would never cross the threshold of one of these dreaded establishments again. But alas, when I’d reached the point that we had to take a trip to Target to buy us all clean underwear, I knew I had to buck up and take the plunge.
So Sunday morning, Jude and I loaded up the Prius with moldering clothing and our roll of quarters and headed out. Jude had completely run out of clean pants, so I had to pull out a pair of old shorts from the “give away” bag – 3Ts. Remember that he’s SIX! He looked like he was wearing a pair of ‘70’s short shorts. And the least crappy t-shirt from the bottom of his drawer – something his aunt had purchased in Italy
The actual clothes washing experience was fairly uneventful. Jude thought it was incredibly cool! He wanted to “help”, which mostly meant dropping everything on the floor repeatedly.
I was almost finished with the folding and we were about to head out, when I was approached by a nicely dressed woman with a kind face. “Excuse me” she said, looking rather apologetic. “I don’t want to offend you in any way, but…” at this point she thrusts a large, neatly tied plastic bag into my arms. “These are some clothes that my son has outgrown, and I was wondering if your son might be able to get some use out of them.”
OH MY GOD!! I looked at myself, looked at Jude and looked at the towel I was in the act of folding, a ratty and tattered thing that Jimmy uses to wash the car, but was the one last towel that wasn’t trapped inside the locked washer, and I suddenly realized what we looked like. AAAHHH! What was I to do? What was I going to say? “I’m sorry, we’re not really homeless. Sears just has really terrible customer service”? I didn’t want to hurt her feelings or embarrass her! She was so kind!
“Oh…well…thank you. That’s so kind of you.” I said, struggling to hold the huge bag of clothes.
She smiled and walked away, I’m sure feeling good that she’d helped out this down and out mother with her small, cute, ragamuffin child.
I have the bag of clothes in the car. There’s some pretty good stuff in there, a couple of Gap sweat shirts. But I just can’t bring myself to keeping it. I need to take it to one of my many favorite charities, and pass it on to the kind of woman and her little boy that this woman thought she was giving it to in the first place.
You know, this experience really humbled me. Though I do a tremendous amount of work FOR charities, I’d never experienced what it was like to accept charity. And it was strange. While I was embarrassed, and taken aback, I was also immensely grateful. I really was. It was so very kind of this woman, a total stranger, to want to help my child. To see him, wearing ill-fitting, ratty clothes, and want to give him something nicer. It was really touching.
So “thank you” stranger woman. I assure you that your sons clothes will go to someone who truly needs them. And never buy a Kenmore