Bachelor Buttons

Blue is her favorite color and so naturally she likes bachelor buttons, one of the few blue flowers easy to find and grow.


When she surprised herself and married a different kind of bachelor, she wanted to launder his clothes, all of them. Frequently. But he said, “That doesn’t need to be washed yet” and “Didn’t you just wash my towel?” and similar things. And she would stalk off, muttering about the soapy water in the wringer washer not getting very dirty. Sometimes she would even stalk back and whine.

By and by she realized he did take extremely good care of his clothes. He would ask her to tighten loose shirt buttons before they fell off.  If something might stain his work clothes he would suggest soaking them or put them to soak himself.


At times clothes seemed to wear out all over at once, not unlike the deacon’s one hoss shay. And he would say, “I think we can let that shirt (or pants) go, now” instead of “Can you mend this?” and since she didn’t enjoy sewing, she was glad.

She came to appreciate the system he had created to keep track of not-perfectly-clean shirts. (Perhaps every man should do his own laundry for five or ten years.) If he had worn a clean shirt, he would put it back on the hanger with the second button instead of the top button closed. Sometime later (much later, she thought) he would put it in the laundry basket when it failed to look or smell clean enough after being worn again.

One day she realized that she was using a similar system herself such as when she wore a dress to town for an hour. And she would use little boy and baby outfits twice if they were lightly worn.

She thought about how marriage changes man and wife, often in different areas than they dreamed. Often they balance each other. In the beginning, she thought she could convince him to prefer wearing freshly washed clothes. But what he liked better was not being nagged. Now he rarely questions how frequently she launders towels and wash cloths. She rarely seethes about not having more clothing to launder from his tidy closet and chest of drawers, partly because he puts clothes in the laundry basket sooner than he used to.


She is glad her used-to-be bachelor is no longer eligible to wear the namesake blue flowers in a buttonhole as men once did, to let ladies know they were single. She even anticipates more of his good qualities pervading her life.

What other laundry shortcuts am I missing? How have you embraced change instead of bracing yourself against it?

9 thoughts on “Bachelor Buttons

  1. No laundry shortcuts here, I’m afraid. (If you discover more, please pass them along.) As for embracing change, I’m not sure I’m there yet, but I’m learning to sidle up alongside the truth that I do, in fact, need to change in some areas. I tend to arrive at conclusions and methods and habits with the conviction that this is The Right Way To Do It. It’s not as if I would deliberately do it the wrong way, you see. But maybe there are many ways to do things, none of them wrong and many of them right. So when should I change and when is it okay to stay the same? No answers here either.

    And here I thought I might add something wise to your wisdom. Sorry.


    1. “Sidle up alongside truth…” I like that picture, or needed it, rather. I think change just to change is dangerous. We can end up identified as trendy and fickle. I probably should worry more how I sometimes avoid change that I know will make my life better or more God-honoring but will cost me something.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Kathryn! I am glad you unbachelored your bachelor, but have the wisdom and grace to let him be his own person unhindered. And I’m glad you recorded this honest telling of your own stalking and seething and learning.

    I find that clothes made of natural fibers stand up to multiple wearings quite well. Particularly in colder weather.

    My very favorite laundry saving tip is using a terry cloth bathrobe instead of a towel. It hangs on a hanger on the extra shower rod I have lengthwise over my bathtub. Since I amalways clean when I use it, I figure it can go long spaces of time without washing. It works beautifully.

    To further push your unbachelored buttons – Luann Austin wrote in one of her column many moons ago that a daily shower is quite unnecessary in the winter. Which would make even less towel washing.


  3. This post made me smile; because in our house it is the wife who says “Can I please hang that towel up; you’ve only used it once?” My children bathe more than Almanzo in Farmer Boy; but not much more. Not sure if that saves on the laundry though, because they still like to change clothes fairly often, esp my daughter!!! Then I can’t keep up with what’s worn and what’s barely worn; so it all goes into the laundry basket (looks better there than in crumpled heaps on the floor).


    1. Sounds like you’re communicating anyway, and dealing with clutter. I know that once I have boys big enough to get into and mess with their own clothes I’ll probably err on the side of if-in-doubt-wash-it, too. 🙂


  4. Love this post! We’ve never really had too many laundry issues, except for when ‘someone sweet and helpful’ decides occasionally to do a load himself. In go the overalls, and a heaping armload of whatever else he can find to make a full load, (sometimes including my good dresses or Anna Grace’s white sweater…) I’m sure I could solve the problem by telling him about it but he’s trying to be so helpful, I don’t have the heart! But believe me I can relate to the muttering and fuming in that first year. Amazing how difficult it can be to learn to live with someone who was raised in a different home than you! Keep writing! 🙂


  5. I’m late commenting on this post, and smiling at you moms who wash when in doubt. At our house, I’ve folded worn but not-dirty enough-to-wash jeans and sent them back to their drawers. When a laundress washes for many people, she starts looking for ways to slow down the deluge of laundry.
    To avoid ironing as much, I use a water sprayer and thoroughly re-wet things that dried with wrinkles, like the placket on shirts, pocket flaps, collars, or crumpled sleeve ends. Stretch and smooth the offending area until it lies flat, and you’ve saved some time and a tiny bit of electricity. (Ok, so I only now thought of the electricity part.)
    Another thing that works well when we do it, is to put each older child’s clothes in a separate basket, and have them fold and put away their own clothes.
    I enjoyed this post and your thoughts on blending well in marriage.


    1. Great tips. There’s a reason I didn’t mention pants. I didn’t want anyone to be shocked. 🙂 I totally agree with whoever said that clothes are worn out as much or more from washing then wearing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s