The smell of burning water told me the iron was ready, so I took a pair of trousers out of the high pile of cammies. I held the pants upside-down, lined up the bottom hems, and gave them two shakes. Once they were flat, I put them on the ironing board, lined up the creases, and began pressing.
There were times when I didn’t want to press Roger’s cammies, but for the most part, it was therapeutic.
“You really don’t have to do that,” he would say.
“I don’t mind,” I said. Sometimes it was a lie, but I wasn’t going to tell him that.
Roger worked all day and spent much of the year away from us due to deployments and trainings, so when he was home, I wanted him to really be home.
Once the trousers were on the board, I would line up the creases on both ends, and begin pressing with the iron on the hottest setting. I would push down, using my right thumb to add steam, and move up the front of the leg until I reached the waistband. Then I would do the same to the back of the trousers, starting at the ankle and ending at the waistline.
There was probably a toddler running around, and I am sure a dog was barking or there was a cake in the oven for a football team party. We lived on Tarawa Terrace on Camp Lejeune, base housing, and life was just so good.
I put the trousers on the hanger, folded in half, then put the blouse, or jacket on the hanger over them and buttoned the top one. Pressing four or five sets of cammies at a time was normal.
Years into our marriage, the Marine Corps. started issuing new cammies to the troops, and they already had creases!
“How do the creases stay in there after you wash them?” I asked him.
“I don’t know. They just said they won’t need to be pressed.”
“Oh,” I said.
At first, we were both excited about this new invention that would change our lives, but I did miss pressing cammies. I’m sure if a set was in front of me right now, and an iron was ready to go, I could press them perfectly. I’m certain it would bring back the smell of dinner cooking in the oven and the sounds of the boys running up and down the long, white-tiled hallway, and I’m not sure I could handle it.
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