Hazel died today. Twenty-five years ago, this summer, the Captain and I married and twenty-five years ago, this fall, Hazel came to live with us. She was a year old, but she was like new and she was the answer to one of our first married prayer requests. It may seem a bit dramatic that I speak of our Kenmore dryer with such sentiment, but please indulge me. Not only was Hazel an answer to prayer, she gave twenty-five years of faithful service to our family.
We married in June of 1986 and lived in Tyler, Texas. Our Saturdays were often spent in the humid heat of our apartment laundromat placing precious quarters, which could have been grocery money, into the machines. A few months later, when we moved back to West Texas, it was no small thing that we had $200 with which to purchase our very own washer and dryer for our duplex. We were rich that day. Nevermind that we were shopping at garage sales. We sat together on the edge of our tan hand-me-down sectional sofa and prayed before we set out. “Lord, thank you for this money. You know how much it is. Please help us find a washer and dryer that has not been sitting in someone’s backyard next to their old commode and broken down Chevy. Amen.” The first sale we went to was in a duplex and everything in it was for sale. The lady had a sad story and was moving abruptly, taking nothing with her. She had a brand new (less than a year old) Kenmore washer and dryer and she was asking $500 dollars for the pair…about half what she had paid. We had $200 and not a penny more. This Kenmore pair was not for us. As we were leaving, we overheard a man telling the owner that he would be back on Monday to pay one lump sum for all that had not sold on Saturday. We took a chance. We told the lady that we knew her washer and dryer were worth far more than we had, but that if, on Monday, she had not sold them, please consider our offer. We gave her our number and asked her to call us if our $200 would be of more value to her than lumping her new appliances in on the pay-one-price deal the man had offered. We did not expect to hear from her. The rest of the day was spent looking at washers and dryers, within our budget, that looked like Methuselah himself may have been the previous owner. We went home tired and dejected. Monday morning she called. The lady with the Kenmore wanted to sell the set to us for $200!
The washer served us well for the next twenty years. But Hazel, she was with us for a quarter of a century! She finally kicked the bucket this morning after a long period of knowing it would be “any day now.” Hazel had been making a really obnoxious clunking noise for some time. We couldn’t carry on a conversation in that end of the house while she was working and if the phone or doorbell rang, everyone knew to go stop Hazel. It was time for her to go.
Hazel dried all those size 3 clothes that I wore on our honeymoon and she dried all the newborn baby clothes and “burp rags” and the only place our first newborn would sleep during those early weeks was often on top of Hazel, where he was lulled by her humming. It was only natural that he would share a room with Hazel when his siblings moved in to our tiny house. Hazel moved with us when we left our home of fourteen years and she never missed a beat when we plugged her into her new home. Hazel dried football uniforms and tennis shoes and many different sizes of basketball uniforms and Nike socks. She was faithful.
For the past several years, I have been constantly reminded of God’s faithfulness and His provision every time I used my dryer. I became sentimental about my dryer and I named her Hazel. God has answered many prayers in our marriage and family since that weekend twenty-five years ago and Hazel has been a constant reminder to me of God’s love and grace. I’m sad to see her go. Maybe when my kids read this, they will better understand why I was sad this morning when there was no longer loud clunking coming from the utility room. The Lord providith and now the Lord taketh away. I will miss Hazel and I will, forever, think of God’s faithfulness every time I dry clothes.