A Tale of Two Towels

All these things, and a thousand like them, came to pass in and close upon the dear old year two thousand and nineteen.


See these towels?

These towels left our house in August of 2018, when my son and his girlfriend went out to enjoy a romantic evening by the firepit. The stone benches were wet, so my son took the towels to keep their butts dry.

The next morning, I noticed the towels were still outside, so I asked my son to bring them in and wash them. I mentioned for the record that no matter how long he delayed, no matter how effectively he hemmed and hawed, I would not touch those towels.

And lo, A Tale of Two Towels began.

The Towels saw summer wind down and a beautiful Vermont fall come and go. I could not see them for much of the winter, but they were still there, hidden but never forgotten, under piles of drifting snow.

Come April, when the last of the snow finally melted into mud season, the towels reappeared.

In the first week of May, my son invited a bunch of his friends home from college for dinner. Figuring they might use the firepit, he moved the towels (and about a pound of wet leaves and sticks) to the sill on the back porch, within twenty feet of the washing machine.

There was much rejoicing, and later, much passive-aggressive commentary .


Yesterday, as we were preparing to host some medical students in our home, this writer’s husband freaked out and caved. Embarrassed by their smelly, wet nastiness, he gathered up the towels (along with the aforementioned pound of leaves and sticks) and placed them in the washing machine.

I discovered his tactical error later that night and determined not to let this one defeat mar twenty-plus years of marriage, started the machine’s self-cleaning cycle with a double dose of Affresh.


For much of today, I thought our Tale was over. We fought the good fight for almost a year, but in the end, our son’s formidable delay tactics and my husband’s aversion to mildew were our undoing.

But this evening, I discovered my valiant and determined husband returned the towels, unfolded but sweet-smelling, to their place on the sill.

And with that, our Tale continues, afresh.


Thus did the year two thousand and nineteen conduct their Greatnesses, and myriads of small creatures—the creatures of this chronicle among the rest—along the roads that lay before them.