I’m writing this post at 10:09 a.m. (-5 GMT) on a Saturday wet morning. As usual, we had our daily shower, only today Mother Nature got up earlier and did her scrubbing.
About 08:17 a.m. we had a brief Nature’s performance of light and sound—meaning, lightning and thunder. From my post at the kitchen window, I could see the brilliant streaks of light and shortly afterwards, the corresponding thunder. The rain act lasted about an hour. Now it’s bright and sunny outside. It will remain this way the rest of the day.
As I scanned the neighborhood from our kitchen window, I could see several raindrops glued to the blue twine on the laundry area of the house. But I noticed something else clinging to the string swaying softly in the wind. They were plastic clothespins my wife had left hanging on the string the day earlier.
From my perspective, the clothespins looked like tiny lanterns glowing under the bright Panama tropical sun. I went immediately to my office, fetched my Birthday camera, and took several pictures in an effort to capture the scene before the droplets evaporated.
For the sake of trivia, let me say that this ancient household tool was invented by a fellow named David M. Smith of Springfield, Vermont in 1853. It consisted of two wooden “legs” hinged together by a metal spring.
I know many kids in the United States don’t know what a clothespin is, since 60 percent of American homes are now equipped with automatic dryers. In Panama, clothespins are hanging from every clothesline. Dryers are far too expensive, and the cost of electricity doesn’t make things any easier.
A few years ago, clothespins were made out of wood. Now, they are made out of plastic. I understand wooden clothespins were also used in the United States.
Before World War II every clothespin in the United States was made of wood, usually a hardwood such as birch, beech, or poplar, abundantly available and resistant to splitting. Then one summer day in 1944, the story goes, Mario Maccaferri, an Italian immigrant and the inventor of the plastic reed for woodwinds, was sent out by his wife to purchase clothespins. Their local shopkeeper had none in stock; Maccaferri went to his reed plant and returned home that evening with six models of plastic clothespins. He went into production immediately with a clothespin that became such a hit retailers would take them away by the barrelful.
Having dedicated a couple of paragraphs to trivia, now it’s time to dedicate some time to images. This is what came out of the lens of my Birthday ” digital light box”. Here we go.
Photograph of a blue plastic clothespin hanging from a plastic cord after a brief rainfall. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
Notice how the clothespin seems to glow under the morning sunshine. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
All alone without anyone to play with. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
More than one are joining the bunch. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
This old timer is showing the passing of time; it has started to deteriorate. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
A rainbow of clothespins floating softly in the wind. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
(Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
This is the only wooden clothespin that I could find. They are being replaced by plastic ones which seem to have a longer life. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
For those of you who have never seen a clothespin before, this is how they look like. If you come down to Panama you will see them everywhere floating in the wind under a warm tropical sun or a wet tropical cloudburst. Good Day.
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