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They used to hang out on the line like an American flag. Proud for all the neighbors to see. They had to rise above the hips and go past the middle of the thigh. Always white unless your were unfortunate to have rusty water then they were a beautiful creamy tan. To get them back to being white, you would scrub them on an old washboard with homemade lye soap. Your knuckles red and raw. People knew you meant business.

The blooms always were a center for breakfast, lunch, and dinnertime discussions with the boys. The boys would sure talk about how "perty" those blooms were hanging out on that line! Making their moms and grams blush with delight. It was shameful the way those boys talked, shameful. The Angry Ojibwa Woman would have to pray for them that night.

What they didn't know is that those Blooms were a touching memory of days gone past. They were a symbol of when she found the man of her dreams, the one she knew she would marry. You see, all her life she had to wash all their clothes. She would have to carry the water from the well. Make the fire to heat the water. Heat the water on the stove. Carry it out to put in the steel washtub. And then use the lye soap she had to also make to wash their clothes to a point where her knuckles would bleed. Until, one day, a man, not a young man, but a man never the less, came to her door asking for directions.

She was just going out the door with a tub of hot water. He grabbed the tub and helped her out to the yard. She gave him directions to where he wanted to go, but he stayed there talking to her and helping her as she continued to carry and heat water. She got him coffee and some bannock with homemade jam for helping her. The day swept by like a breeze. He watched her as she lovingly washed those blooms. He helped her carry the heavy wet clothes to the line. He then went on his way.

The next day, she was sitting at her kitchen window having coffee and playing solitaire listening to Canadian radio and fiddle music. She though about the stranger and how wonderful it was to have a man help her with the chores. There was a knock on the door. 

Years later, she would open the underwear drawer and see that he had lovingly folded her blooms into triangles just like the American flag. He put them side by side in a pattern that resembled nothing but beautiful pure love.

Moral of the Story: It is spring, get the Angry Ojibwa Woman in your life some blooms! Tease her about her blooms. Remember that the most loving act can be the simple act of helping the Angry Ojibwa Woman as she performs the ugly tasks in life.

Please share and have a great week,

Betsy McDougall

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