Izzy’s Clothesline Platform

Socks on the line - Guenette photo

For all the new readers of Disappearing in Plain Sight – here’s a treat and an example of how fiction informs reality.

One of the first building projects tackled after I came to the cabin was a crude platform up a couple of stairs that allowed me to reach the newly installed clothesline. For all it’s primitive nature, that original platform hung around a long time – twenty-three years this fall!

Sheets on the line - Guenette photo

In the above photo, the platform is barely visible. It was a humble structure all tucked up behind the salal bushes. And definitely on it’s last legs in 2015 with rotting posts causing the whole thing to lean forward at the front end. The already iffy platform was not helped, on more than one afternoon near the end of last summer, by the antics of a large bear who chose to climb up and plant him or herself on the end to eat salal berries.

This spring, Bruce set out to build me a new clothesline platform. Here are the results. We have both concluded that it is fancier than either of us envisioned. It seems this model would suit Izzy to a tee!

Fran's new clothes line platform, April 14, 2016 - bruce witzel photo

I’ll have to struggle along to be worthy of the magnificence Smile 

Excerpt from Disappearing in Plain Sight:

“Liam, take a look at this … it’s priceless to watch, really.” Liam looked where Caleb was pointing but all he saw was Izzy out on the clothesline platform Caleb had built for her. She was hanging out the wet laundry.

He cast a somewhat baffled look at his friend but Caleb just kept smiling through his words, “Look at how carefully she chooses each piece, Liam.” Izzy did seem to search through the basket as if she were looking for something in particular. “I used to think maybe she would hang only pants together … or shirts … or my stuff and then hers … or maybe there was a colour code or something. It never made any sense. It was the damnedest thing. And then one day I figured it out. It’s because of those two lilac bushes. You see … look … first big pieces and then smaller pieces in the middle so they will clear that one bush and then some bigger pieces again but only small pieces at the end because if the wind comes up the bigger pieces would hit the lilac.”

Liam was seeing the logic of this but Caleb’s fascination with the whole process seemed odd. Izzy put the last piece on the line and reeled it out. She turned, going quickly down the three steps from the platform and walking toward the kitchen door. Liam was about to head into the shop to do some task or another. He and Caleb were always working on something. But Caleb grabbed his arm to hold him back out of Izzy’s sight, “No wait Liam, this is my favourite part … she’ll stop,” and as Caleb said those words, Izzy did indeed stop. “She’ll turn back to the clothesline.” This was exactly what Izzy did “And she’ll survey her handiwork.” Izzy stood gazing for a moment or two at the line and then headed inside.

Caleb began to walk toward the shop door shaking his head, “It’s always exactly the same. I have never seen that woman look as satisfied as she does when she turns back to that clothesline.” He laughed out loud, pushed Liam in the arm and winked at him, “You know what I mean, Liam.” Caleb paused for effect before he added, “Never seen her that satisfied.” Then he had laughed even more. “Good thing I don’t have a big ego, hey, Liam.”

That was the essence of Caleb. Liam could still picture him, all these years later, leaning there against the workshop door – a big guy with shaggy blond hair and a wild looking beard. He would often slouch a bit so he and Liam were on the same level. In Liam’s memories, Caleb’s dark-blue eyes always sparkling with humour. Caleb hadn’t ever had anything to prove; he was sure of himself and his chosen friends.

Looking back - clothesline platform

16 comments on “Izzy’s Clothesline Platform

  1. Reblogged this on through the luminary lens and commented:
    My wife Francis’ has a lovely piece of dialogue in her first novel, Disappearing in Plain Sight, when Izzy’s husband Caleb talks to his friend Liam as they watch Izzy hang out the laundry. Moving and humorous, all I might add is that some truths are best expressed in fiction. Read on, for a bit of a chuckle! (And, I must confess – I hope you enjoy my own handiwork.)

  2. Darlene says:

    I love your platform. By coincidence (or perhaps not), a new clothesline and platform is on our list of things to do this summer. I confess I will be day dreaming quite a bit about how to incorporate some of your lovely design into mine. I love the platform for the clothes basket and the similar but lower one, which I imagine is for sitting and admiring the view. And using the old tree for the line is brilliant. Laundry day will be a special day.

    • Hi Darlene – so glad you stopped by and feel inspired by our exquisite clothesline platform. It’s in a great spot for morning coffee as well as hanging out laundry 🙂 Best wishes with your own design.

  3. smilecalm says:

    gets even the stubborn
    dirt out of where it
    is not needed 🙂

    • So true – it is that stubborn dirt that concerns me – the dirt that keeps me from getting on with writing! I’ll sit out on my platform in the morning sun and I know I will be inspired by the surrounding trees, the bird song and the beautiful design.

  4. I love the platform and the story even more! Wonderful writing. Thanks for sharing it with us today. @sheilamgood at Cow Pasture Chronicles

  5. jane tims says:

    My clothesline goes from my deck, but this is so elegant!

  6. P. C. Zick says:

    Please come to our cabin in North Carolina and build me one, too!

  7. MariHoward says:

    Hey, as a UK person, I can’t quite figure out how this clothes line and platform worK! You reel it out when the clothes are on it … we just don’t have these. My clothes line (which I equally obsessed with) is merely a couple of plastic lines attached to the house/a pillar of the fence, and it stays there, it doesn’t reel out of anywhere! I potter out into the garden and I walk along its length, hanging the clothes. Enlighten me! Yours is obviously a lot higher, but how the clothes are hung on it and then reeled out remains a mystery …

    • It’s got to be a pulley system – right? The line loops from the one tree to the other, over a pulley and back to another pulley at the platform side. I put up a piece of clothes, push the line out and hang up the next one. When we first set up a clothesline here, we had it upside down and I knew something was wrong but it took me forever of looking at the thing to figure it out. You have to start hanging the clothes to the left of the joiner (part that joins the two loops of line) and the joiner has to be on the bottom. When the line is absolutely full that joiner will be hitting the pulley at the far tree. Anyway – trial and error, like so many things in life – we got it right!

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