Archived Story

Long for the days of good, smooth American cotton sheets

Published 9:00am Friday, October 26, 2012

“Below the hill grows a field of high Indian grass that changes color with the seasons: go to see it in the fall….when it has gone red as sunset, when scarlet shadows like firelight breeze over it and the autumn winds strum on its dry leaves sighing human music, a harp of voices…Do you hear? That is the grass harp, always telling a story.”
– excerpt from The Grass Harp by Truman Capote
Late October afternoons in Saluda find me outside soaking up gold-sunlit afternoons, working on art projects amid splashes of fuchsia geraniums, yellow marigolds and other bright happy colors.
Sunglasses on, art underway, it’s time to put deck and porch plants inside: River dog helps by staying close by, lazing in the warmth. We both know these days are short and will end too soon. In the tender breeze, the bamboo grove along the street rustles as leaves fall: and the grass harp of life sings all around.
Bees hum, yellow jackets pester, and scores of ladybugs swarm as the day wears on. While working and thinking amid all these insects, this brings to mind American sheets and real old-fashioned ladybugs: not the Asian imports. Most of those bombarding my house are the Asian kind. In the great deluge, kudzu bugs and stinkbugs (all imports and illegal aliens) are inviting themselves in for an extended winter stay. The little crunchers are not my friends. They’re not welcome, despite their onslaught.
These unwanted imports make me long for the days of good smooth American cotton sheets: sheets that lasted like iron for many years: not sheets from some far-flung Chinese factory where they do not know how to make good sheets that fit, that last. Even the high-thread-count ones just don’t cut it. Literally and figuratively! For some reason in my train of thought, I equate the glut of sorry Chinese sheets with that of the imported pests: I don’t like ‘em, don’t want ‘em and miss the real thing. True, there are some imports I like: Italian leather shoes that fit like a dream, Italian and German cars that growl low when you push the petal. Ah.
But more and more, when inspecting tags, labels, packaging: I say to myself, I want people to work, here in my own country. We need to produce our own sheets, clothing, textiles and to be able to buy decent sheets that last forever, once again. (Those Asian crunchers are not welcome to share my sheets, either!) Nothing is safe from the little monsters: you find them not only on walls and ceilings — you have to continually watch food, counters, sinks, coffee cup and more. I draw the line on sharing my morning cup of coffee with one of those things swirling around in it!

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