Color & Control:

When My Dry Cleaner Retired…

When I walked in with my usual bundle of shirts a month ago, Ed, my trusty dry cleaner, gave me a big smile and said goodbye. No notice, no sadness, just…“I’m 64 and a half, I’ve found a buyer and I’m out of here. And, by the way, I’m having open-heart surgery next week.”

Ed had been part of my life for 35 years. I’ve religiously dropped in at 7am each week on my way to work with a pile of laundry and nattered about everything from politics to the Toronto Blue Jays. He’s helped me prep for every business trip or holiday, and cleaned up afterwards. Ed knows my girls by name and has seen them go from kindergarten to high school via their school uniforms, on to university and then into the “business attire” working world. No one could be as passionate about a nasty stain as Ed.

With Ed out of my life, my reliable dry-cleaning routine was gone and I felt unsettled. My husband felt the same way. It was a change we hadn’t anticipated, an unexpected loss of a man who had become a part of our lives.

Was this a precursor of things to come? My mind started to whirl. Our family doctor is in her sixties; our accountant and dentist are, too. Even our “rough and ready” handyman is pushing 80 years old and has really slowed down. Boy, was I winding myself up!

Gradually, I came to the realization that this really wasn’t such a big deal and that I had to take the bull by the horns and come up with a solution. And, what better motivation than two weeks’ worth of piled up dry cleaning? Reminding myself that not all change is for the worse, I got up my nerve and went to check out the newcomers.

The store had reopened and I had to smile. The young couple that had purchased the business were lovely. They had renovated the premises, extended the hours, and added a shoe-repair service and onsite mending. And Ed, bless him, even told them not to fold my shirts and to handwash my sweaters. My worrying was all for naught and life was actually going to be okay.

Lesson learned: If we’re open to it, change often comes bearing gifts! Note to self: Don’t expect things to stay the same forever. And start looking for a new doctor and accountant now!

Caroline Tapp-McDougall, Editor in Chief

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