“Don’t touch it and I will be right back,” Mom said as she walked away from the ironing board.

Being a seven year old who had watched her mother iron clothes hundreds of times, the directive was nothing new. Mom ironed everything and I mean everything.

While Mom ironed, we talked and sometimes she sang. During the talking, she also taught me about how to iron and how hot the iron had to get in order to straighten out the wrinkles.

Since all the clothes were hung to dry on the clothes line outside, when the water sprayed and the hot iron pressed down on the cloth, the fragrant steam was fresh. I loved spending that time with Mom.

I watched as Mom left the room with the words still hanging in the air.

“Don’t touch it and I will be right back,” was ringing in my ears.

I believed Mom.

She had given me the simple science behind ironing and I believed her.

I could see the effects of the heat on the cloth.

Heat settings on the iron.

It wasn’t a one time event, but something that Mom performed on a regular basis.

With all those facts in my head, I still didn’t “know” that the iron was hot as she proclaimed. I believed her for the most part, but I didn’t really “know” it. I didn’t have first hand experience of ever getting close to the hot cloth or the metal of the iron to draw from, so the knowledge just didn’t put it all together in my child’s mind.

That is precisely why I had the overwhelming desire to touch the iron.

I looked at the doorway where Mom had just passed and then at the iron just sitting there on the ironing board.

It beckoned me like Sleeping Beauty’s spinning wheel.

“Touch me. Just reach out and touch me.”

With childish ignorance and my natural characteristic of going forward wholeheartedly with all my might, I reached out and placed the entire palm side of my hand against the bottom of the hot iron.

The bottom of the iron is sooooo hot!

A blood curdling scream escaped my lips which brought my mother back into the room at Olympic speed.

Never in a million years did she believe that after watching her for so many years I would ever reach out and touch the hot iron. Oh no, I didn’t just reach out and touch it, I had to completely lay my hand flat on the hot metal surface that was dotted with holes for the steam to be released.

Through her panic and tears, she kept saying, “Why? Why? Why did you touch it?”

We were both bewildered. Actually, Mom was more bewildered than me. I never do things half way, so why would I have just barely touched the iron? I just wondered what had overcome me so strongly to finally touch it?

I wouldn’t just touch it a little bit because that just isn’t me and that is how I am with most experiences – I want it all and fully while being completely absorbed in the experience which just proves that I can’t love people by halves nor do I want to do so.

I don’t suggest you touch a hot iron, but I do feel that you should enjoy the experiences of your life fully. Don’t let things pass you by unnoticed because you never know which ones could be life changing adventures. Hopefully, you’ll choose more wisely than I did with the hot iron.

“Love has nothing to do with
what you are expecting to get –
only with what you
are expecting to give –
which is everything.”

~Katharine Hepburn~

The Redhead Riter

This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 TJ March 21, 2011 at 4:40 am

Well I guess I will be first you silly goose! I relived the whole horrible thing. Did you know that one thing you did made me keep a close eye on you after that! I always wondered what else you may have to find out for your self!! you have done just that too, and most have been great, some have been suffering awful,lol. Your broken heart has torn at my poor heart just like that dang iron!! It just goes to show you that you are to remember, that Alyssa will too have to try out many hot irons and YOU will , like me have to stand in the back round and hold your breath. Warn me next time that you have written about a hair raising memory!! I never, NEVER turn my iron on that I do not see that little hand all in one big blister!!! And I still get upset because you did not listen to me!lol. NOW YOU LISTEN TO ME WHEN I SPEAK , EVEN NOW!!!!!! I STILL KNOW BEST!!!



2 The Redhead Riter March 21, 2011 at 5:18 am

I know what you mean, Mom, because every morning when I turn on the iron to press the wrinkles out of my clothes, I too remember that experience. I don't ever remember the pain. I think my mine has blotted it out. I only remember the shocked horror on your face as you came running back into the room and your desperate "Why?" question. You had such agony on your face that I regretted touching the iron for causing you such pain. You've been such a great mother. I love you.


3 bluecottonmemory March 21, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Aw – you two are just too sweet! Imagine my grandmother's face when she slammed the car door and my hand was there, severing my thumb!!!! (Luckily, the intern at the hospital would go on the become a wold class limb attachment surgeon – and, well, I guess I was his firt re-attachment. Thumbnail grew back et al – he wasn't sure (since it was under the nail where it was severed!!!

Sadly, our kids sometimes have to learn through experience rather than wisdom words:(


4 TJ March 21, 2011 at 9:28 pm

You made up for it Sherry, you are my wonderful child and you gave me
Alyssa . I am so blessed, mom loves you with all that makes me , Me.



5 Twinpossible March 22, 2011 at 1:42 am

I burned myself with an iron many times, but never with purpose, lol. I had one triangular scar for quite a few years.

I didn't learn any lessons, except that Iam clumsy when it comes to any heated equiptment, as I proved the other night with a boiling hot pot handle. OUCHIE!! I'm not a child either, lol.

I think the way you closed the story, and the premise and the moral behind it, is perfect. Ending with that quote from Hepburn was perfect & classic. Great job Red.

I'm glad I had the chance to stop by tonight, to show you some love and read this sweet story. Well, not so sweet at that moment in time, but you know what I mean.

Oh, and I'm jealous of mom's comment. Will she adopt me? I'm not very young, and I don't wear diapers, (not yet anyways), but I can make a mean Penne Ala Vodka, and I'm a nice kid. Pretty please? LOL.

Never under appreciate the incredible blessing of having 1 terrific parent, and if you get to have two, my God, you've hit lotto, and people like me want to cry. I envy you.

God bless hun & good night!



6 Suzanne G. McClendon March 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm

This proves it, we're separated twins. 🙂 I did a similar thing to my mama, only I chose the stove eye rather than the iron. After she said, "Don't touch that; it's hot", I marched right up to it and laid my hand flat out on it. What happened after that, I have no idea. haha My youngest daughter is just like me, so I keep waiting for her to do that, too. So far, so good(she's almost 16 now). She's had some doozies of her own, though.

Isn't is amazing how the hurts we cause our mamas stick with us longer than any physical pain that we cause ourselves?

Thanks again for the Rockin' Friend award. Have a wonderful day!


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