The sheets in question are the first fifteen hundred thread-count, pure Egyptian cotton queen-sized linens I’ve ever owned. I’m not exactly certain what a fifteen hundred thread-count is, nor am I sure if Egyptian cotton is any better than say—Mississippi cotton. Such superiority could be fact-based or simply a matter of snobbery. Do Egyptians brag about their fifteen hundred thread-count, pure New Mexican cotton sheets?
My late wife taught me to launder new items before using them for the first time. In fact, all of my husbandly lore was acquired after I met Betty. It is nothing short of a miracle I survived my college years and my army service ignorant of such crucial information. Within six months of my wife’s passing, I had this housekeeping thing whipped. I could feed myself utilizing only a refrigerator, a freezer, and a microwave. I had acquired a passing acquaintance with a vacuum cleaner, a dishwasher, and a dust rag. However, my confidence slipped a notch when I discovered I’d been doing laundry with fabric softener instead of detergent for the past thirty days. Okay, my clothes were a little dingy but, man, were they soft. A few buttons fell off and a seam disintegrated on a jacket, but I’m not aware of any cause/effect relationship there.
At any rate, after removing my new sheets from the dryer, I buried my face in the still-warm bedding and inhaled the aroma of lilacs. Actually, it was only Resolve Spray & Wash stain remover. I folded the incredibly soft, ivory-hued top sheet and the four—count them four—fancy pillow slips. I hadn’t known Egyptians slept with one pillow at the head and another at the foot. It must be one of those different cultures/different customs things. As I placed these folded items into the bureau, I felt a bit ashamed. The only other things in there were common, ordinary bed sheets, not royal linens tracing their lineage back to the Pharaohs.
Next, I tackled the dreaded fitted sheet. After nestling two corners—one into the other—as I’d seen Betty do, I did the same with the other end pieces. Next, I grasped the four corners—now made two—and flapped the sheet to smooth it out. It settled gracefully across the plain white, plebeian mattress cover, but when I let go of the corners, it wadded up like last year’s discarded Christmas wrapping.
I repeated the procedure and brought all the form-fitted ends into one another, expecting to achieve a neat rectangle. Not so. That springy, stretchy cord sewn into the hem puckered into a pale imitation of a prune. Where the hell did their elastic come from? Not Egypt. It seemed more Teutonic in its tenacity.
Maybe the springy band needed stretching. I did the nesting thing again and pulled the opposing corners apart as far as my arms would reach. Anxious to see if this had accomplished the desired effect, I let go with one hand. The corners shot past my head and hit the lamp on the bed table. I grabbed it in time to avert disaster, but now my clean sheet lay in a heap on the floor. No big deal. My carpet wasn’t due for its semi-annual vacuuming for another couple of months.
The elastic was just too strong. It needed more stretching than the width of my arms. I may lack motor skills, but I do have a brain and the ability to think. I hooked one set of nested corners over the bedroom doorknob and held the other in my hand. I slowly backed across the room, pulling the elastic tighter and tighter in a celebration of the triumph of mind over matter. That up-tight cord was going to relax its grip enough to make the sheet behave.
At that moment, the fifteen hundred thread-count, pure Egyptian cotton fitted corners slipped off the brass knob and caught me flush in the left eye. The one I’d been babying ever since cataract surgery.
My respect for Egyptian nobility considerably diminished, I blinked hard a couple of times and tackled the sheet again. Ignoring the wrinkled hemlines, I folded them inward to bury their obscene ugliness beneath the ivory expanse of the unpuckered side.
By the time I laid the blessed thing in the drawer atop its companion pieces, the entire folding process had taken only twenty-five minutes. But you know, the damned sheet did sort of look as if I’d wadded it up and thrown it in the drawer.
Next Week: Don't have any idea yet...my mind hasn't caught up with my ambitions
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