Written by guest blogger Denise Deby, who has worked in international and community development, and is trying to figure out how to connect the local with the global in her everyday life.

I’m glad it’s spring.

I don’t know what it was these past few months, but my family went through two kinds of stomach flu, two bouts with low fevers and coughs, and a nasty cold. Nothing serious, thankfully, but low-grade annoying.

I’m grateful that we have (1) a ready supply of water (and an energy-efficient washing machine); (2) a green bin that allows for composting tissues; and (3) Hankettes.

Hankettes are these soft organic cotton cloth handkerchiefs that are great for wiping noses as well as cleaning washable marker off 4-year-olds’ stomachs (don’t ask), and numerous other uses. I picked up a pocket pack of them a few years ago at Arbour Environmental Shoppe in the Glebe. They still look and feel almost new.

I must admit to a deeper connection with those small off-white squares of cloth. After I’d first purchased some, I was visiting my dad in BC a year or two after my mom passed away. I found out that Hankettes is a small family-run business near where my parents lived in Sechelt on BC’s Sunshine Coast. My dad and I found their trailer on a wooded lot near a small house. The proprieter, Lesley, was friendly and we laughed about me coming all the way from Ottawa seeking Hankettes. I bought a few more, along with a colourful box to fold them into so they pull out like tissues. I also ended up with two organic cotton towels, and my dad, a long-time handkerchief user, bought a few of the larger Hankettes.

My dad passed away a couple of years later, and I haven’t been back to Sechelt or the trailer. But when my sisters and I cleared out my parents’ house, I found a couple of my dad’s Hankettes — somehow comforting, in more ways than one.

When I checked recently, Arbour was still carrying Hankettes, which can also be found online.

After all, allergy season is coming soon.

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