Woman humiliated when high wind gusts blow her clothesline full of underwear into the neighbor's tree

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a woman who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.

You never know what a gust of wind will blow into your yard. Personally, the most unusual thing I've found in my backyard after a gust of wind was a neighbor's trampoline. Unfortunately, I never found out which neighbor was its rightful owner.

So what constitutes a high wind gust? "'Damaging high wind' with sustained speeds greater than 58 mph, or frequent wind gusts greater than 58 mph," according to National Weather Service.

When my parents were newlyweds, an unexpected windstorm blew an even more unexpected surprise into the highest branches of a tree in their yard. According to my mother, the neighbor never looked at them the same way again, and vice versa.

My parents' next-door neighbor had a wide variety of brightly colored and patterned underwear. On laundry day, she hung her colorful underwear on the clothesline in her front yard to dry. My parents couldn't help but snicker at the row of loud underpants flapping in the breeze once a month.

By the time this woman got around to washing and hanging her underwear, there would be nearly three dozen of them squeezed onto the clothesline, two clothespins each. Every inch of the line was full.

According to my mother, it looked like one of the lines of colored flags salesmen hang above the parking lots of used automobile lots when they're having a sale. Everyone else in the neighborhood hung out laundry in shades of gray except this one woman. Her laundry really popped.

One windy day, her clothesline snapped in half and all the multicolored panties hanging on the line flew through the air on a gust of wind and landed on the branches of one of my parents' tallest trees. It looked like a colorful garland hanging on a Christmas tree, except Christmas was still half a year away, and most people don't decorate their trees with ladies' underpants.

From a distance, it looked festive and purposeful, but as you got closer, you could see that what appeared to be an intentional decoration was actually a displaced laundry line of ladies' drawers. My mother and my father were close enough to see what they were dealing with, and now they were tasked with the unenviable job of fishing a neighbor's underwear out of their tree.

Using a ladder and a long stick, my father managed to extricate the clothesline from the branches without losing a single pair of underpants. However, he did lose a wooden clothespin or two as he wrangled the tangled articles of clothing out of the tree.

The neighbor thanked my father profusely for his help and apologized equally profusely for the inconvenience. After that incident, my mother noticed that the woman stopped hanging her unmentionables on the clothesline to dry.

Maybe she was too embarrassed or afraid of a repeat performance or maybe it was because her landlord never replaced her clothesline.

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