The Ways of Fold


You would think that there’s only one way to fold towels.

But, you’d be wrong.

My momma showed me how to fold them, as well as shirts, socks, underpants, and other personal sundries, when I was a kid.

I assumed that this skill set would carry me all the way though until people were standing over me singing hymns.

But, I was wrong. More than once.

I’ve been married twice.

Within minutes of returning from my first honeymoon, I loaded the washer and ran a load. They then made their way to the dryer.

Shortly after pulling the dry clothes out and throwing them on the bed, I began folding a monogrammed towel we picked up on our honeymoon (it said Hyatt Regency on it).

Her: “Hey, what are you doing?”

Me: “Uh, folding a towel.”

Her: “That’s not how you fold a towel.”

Me: “Well, that’s how my momma folds a towel.”

Her: “I ain’t your momma. And you have to fold the towels so that they stack right in the cabinet.”

Turns out, she acted a whole lot like my momma, which is one of the reasons she’s my first wife.

She showed me how she wanted me to fold towels – “From now on, so they’ll fit in the cabinet” – and told me in no uncertain terms that it was the right way to do it.

Well, men (at least the smarter ones) learn to pick their battles, and towels ain’t a battle worth fighting. You save battles for important things, like whether it’s OK to watch an Ancient Aliens marathon in the middle of a Saturday, or what color tractor you want (red).

So, I relearned to fold towels.

This same scenario replayed itself many times as I was caught incorrectly folding socks, underwear, and washrags.

I patiently relearned all of the correct methods for each.

Shortly after returning from the second honeymoon, I was washing and drying the dirty clothes.

As I was folding the Hyatt Regency towel (I negotiated it in the divorce), I heard:

Her: “Hey, what are you doing?”

Me: “Uh, I’m folding a towel.”

Her: “That’s not how you fold a towel. They won’t fit in the cabinet that way.”

By this point, I was smart enough not to mention my first wife or my momma, so I just said, “You’re absolutely right. This has confused me my entire life. Would you please also show me the correct way to fold socks, underwear, and washrags?”

I just figured that I could shorten this whole process and get back to the tractor dealership much faster that way.

She did, and I’ve folded towels, socks, underwear, washrags, and anything else that needs folding her way ever since.

But that may change.

As I was sitting in my La-Z-Boy watching an Ancient Aliens marathon in the middle of a Saturday and staring out the window at my red tractor, my wife (the current one) announced she was heading down the hall to rearrange the bathroom cabinets.

I smiled, but swallowed hard. I knew what this meant. I’m going to have to relearn how to fold the towels and washrags.

I’m good with that. Maybe afterward we can go on a second honeymoon and stay at a nice hotel.

That’ll give me a chance to replace that worn out monogrammed towel.

©2019 John Moore

John’s book, Write of Passage: A Southerner’s View of Then and Now, is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You can reach John through his website at

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