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Signs Of Life

Columns by Pamela Majteles

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Summer Job

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Posted by pam on January 14, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Originally published July 6, 2007

This column is reprinted with permission from The Hills Newspapers.

Summer is about simple pleasures. It’s a picnic in the park, a dip in the pool, or a book at the beach. Not much is needed to enjoy the summer.

Well, except maybe a beach towel. This time of year, beach towels in my house achieve their highest status. It seems very little can be done without them. They are packed for trips to the park, pool and beach. They accompany us on bike rides, trail hikes, and weekend drives. We never know when we might take a dive or make a splash. Or, when we might wade on wet sand or sit on soggy ground.

Beach towels are not just useful, they are also vibrant. They are dripping with colors. Not any ordinary colors, but ones that remind me of names of designer house paints. They are not simply red, green and yellow, but rather “Bonfire Red”, “Seafoam Green”, and “Sunburst Yellow”.

Along with the colors, the designs on beach towels are eye-catching. There are arching curlicues, waving banners and streaming ribbons. None are used sparingly, but like grains of sand, they are packed one on top of another.

With their showy colors and designs, it’s natural that beach towels take center stage in the summer. When packing for any destination, whether it’s an afternoon at the pool or a week at the lake, the towels have a starring role. Like any big movie star, they are unforgettable. Other things may be left behind but never the towels.

The towels also receive star treatment. Given their importance in the summer, they are first in and out of the laundry. They are soaped, softened and fluffed not just once a week but sometimes two or three times. It seems no amount of care and attention is too much.

For the beach towels, this is their time in sun. When summer ends, they are not forgotten, just demoted. They are put away and then pulled out for one job or another. Like when the dog needs to be dried off after a bath. Or, when a leak under the sink has to be wiped up. Or, when the car needs to be washed.

At other times of the year, beach towels do the dirty work. For those jobs around the house when nothing but a towel will do, the choice is clear. Among the towels at home, we would never choose, for instance, a towel from the bathroom. With their Egyptian cotton and muted colors, bath towels are meant for finer things. Beach towels, on the other hand, are meant to get down and dirty. Like the stepsisters and Cinderella, bath towels lounge while beach towels labor.

Even during the summer, beach towels work hard. But it is the kind of work most of us would choose to do, because it offers a good working environment, plenty of travel, and lots of fringe benefits. We all know jobs like that are hard to find.

If given a choice, though, I would choose not to work this time of year. Instead, I would spend all my time enjoying summer. And, I would take along a towel.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License.

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