|When Ellie ironed it was Tuesdays. Mondays she hung linens perfumed
by Clorox on the line to dry. Before she left for home in the evening,
she'd spread them across the kitchen table, and sprinkle them to just-damp
with water, and wad them up in the plastic sheeting removed from the dry
cleaning: bagged mounds to remain cool and damp in the basement refrigerator
Like cellophaned sections of unassembled snowmen, filling the fridge in the overnight.
The next day, she would haul them up to the kitchen where she had set up the ironing board and tuned in the radio to WVON (the Voice Of the Negro). And as little Etta James bellowed a tune, and Coleman "Fast-Talkin'" Young jockeyed the discs from Record Row on South Michigan Avenue, Ellie drenched cotton in Niagara and pressed to perfection the sheets, the pillowcases, and Daddy's boxer shorts.
She smoked many Chesterfields and drank much Coca-Cola from little green bottles. Her teeth were big and white despite the cigarettes and soda pop, and when I walked in her smile would light up the room, warming it like a fireplace in winter, sunshine in spring. This was Tuesdays.
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