A peaceful breeze rippled through our bed sheets clipped on the clotheslines in the backyard. Our patriotic bed sheets looked like a set of U.S. flags rippling in the wind at the cemetery during a military funeral.
Since it was such a pleasant, sunny day, I added two wash loads of clothes on the clotheslines, and then took a nap while I waited for another load of clothes to finish washing and for the clothes to finish drying outside.
I got up from my nap and stretched and then went outside, completely shocked.
All of my clothes were gone.
At first I thought maybe they had just blown away—something innocent. But as I looked closer, the clothespins were scattered on the ground.
My basket was gone, too. Someone stole my clothes!
“Mike, this is crazy, I can’t believe this, this is crazy.”
“What’s crazy? Slow down. What’s going on?”
“You won’t believe what happened.”
“I just put my clothes out to dry on the clothesline and now they’re all gone.”
“Gone? You mean someone—”
“Yes! Someone stole them. I can’t believe this.”
“I’ll come home. I can be there in about a half an hour.”
“No, it’s okay. I’ll have to report this to the police.”
“Don’t call 911. Call the non-emergency number.”
I reported it to the police and then kind of forgot about the incident. A few weeks later, we had another gorgeous day. This time I asked my husband if he thought it was okay if I hung up the clothes outside again—because it was mostly his clothes that would be at risk this time around.
“Yeah, go ahead. It’s all good. I contacted the police and they have several reported incidents in our area of clothes being stolen this summer. They have a few leads, and think they are close to nabbing the culprit.”
“Okay, I just wanted to be sure.”
“Oh, make sure you use the new green clothes basket.”
“Already on it! I love you, Mike.”
“I love you more.”
That day was very similar to the sunny, breezy day when my clothes were stolen. I clipped Mike’s clothes on the lines and prayed that the clothes would be safe. That day I had to run to the food market because we were almost out of coffee and weekly necessities.
But, while I was gone, Mike’s clothes were stolen, too.
“Mike! You won’t believe it—it happened again.”
“I put your clothes out to dry on the clothesline and now they’re all gone.”
“Gone? You mean someone—”
“Yes! Someone stole them again. I can’t believe this.”
“Okay, did they take the basket, too?”
“What do you mean, good?”
“I’ll let you know as soon as I find out anything.”
“Okay. I love you Mike. Be careful.”
“I love you more. It’s going to be okay.”
To be honest, I did not think it was going to be okay. I just felt that having anything stolen from us was kind of creepy. While I waited, I finished washing the clothes, but used the clothes dryer instead of hanging them out on the clothesline. I had a few minutes to relax so I turned on the television and “surfed” through a few shopping channels, but I really wasn’t in the mood to buy anything. Finally, I landed on an early local television news show. One of the famous anchors was explaining how to make Exquisite Pumpkin Pie. Then, on the bottom of the screen a BREAKING NEWS text alert scrolled:
Breaking News… Police arrest the Clothesline Bandit in an apparent clothes basket sting. Details to follow the Recipe for Success Show…
“Yes, I was about to call you. I just got off the phone with the police.”
“They had me duct tape a disposable cell phone on the bottom of our clothes basket. They were able to track the thief directly to his hideout.”
“That’s amazing! Did they save your clothes too?”
“Oh yes. Watch the report.”
I was shocked as the police described the bandit as a young Boy Scout who was trying to gather clothes for a clothing drive for a local homeless shelter. When asked why he was taking the clothes, he answered, “Because everyone in this town refused to give me any clothes for the drive. They were all too busy or slammed the door in my face.”
“Wow. I would have given him some clothes.”
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