I belong to or follow a group on Facebook called Celebrate Hand Quilting. The idea is to celebrate the dinosaurs. The slow people. I'm glad to see we aren't the extinct people. Since I am not a Facebook contributor - leaving an occasional comment to a very few people is about the extent of it - I don't contribute any of my quilts. I just drool over the work of others and give a round of applause when I'm really impressed. There are quite a few beginners in that group and I'm happy to see that.
On Wednesdays the group is encouraged to share their quilts on a given theme. This week it was Christmas or holiday. I haven't made an overload of Christmasy quilty things, two throws is about it, but today as I browsed through posts I remembered three little things my friend Mary made for me many years ago.
Mary used to live across the street from us. She is 20 years older than I am and we became fast friends. every morning I watched for the kitchen light over her sink to go on telling me she was up for the day. We shared many adventures - remind me someday to tell you about the elephant poop. She and PH would meet in the middle of the street discussing how to get stains out of clothes. PH did/does 99% of the laundry and is much more obsessed than I am about getting it done so discussing stains in the middle of the street wasn't anything abnormal.
We shared food. I was always happy to send something over for her to taste test and she was happy to send something over when she made too much. Almost within a year of moving into the house across the street she became a widow. Her sense of humor helped her come out of her grief and it's one of the things I enjoy so much about her. We laugh.
I always told her I was so impressed with her army of friends. She had someone for everything she liked to do. Go walking? She had a friend who liked to do that. Go to a play or symphony? She had a friend who liked to do that. Go picking fruit? She had a friend who liked to do that. Go antiquing? She had a friend who liked to do that. She had one friend she's known since she was an infant. She always says she and Franny go from cradle to grave. The thing is, not many of her friends like to do all of those things so she never had to worry about asking strawberry picking friend to go to the symphony. Or symphony friend to go hiking. And her friends understood that. Her life is rich with friends. One of the things I appreciate is that she listens to me. When I need to, I get to talk.
Now Mary is living in a retirement community and she is happy. When I talked to her yesterday she said she was in a good place. It's been a full year since she moved in, and she's settled. She's such a positive person I can't imagine her not finding good in her decision. We talked a lot while she was getting ready for the move and I kept telling her she was lucky. "YOU made this decision. YOU chose where you wanted to be. YOU are the one calling all of the shots. So many people aren't this lucky."
For a time, Mary quilted. When her husband was in the hospital dying, she pieced a long narrow wall hanging that was framed and hung above her kitchen sink so whenever you walked in the room you saw it first. It was her therapy. She made small things, all by hand, and not very many of them.
I miss not having her across the street anymore, but to be fair, we moved away first. Now we talk on the phone regularly and I pick her up to go for lunch and run some errands. But I'll always have these littles and remember her hands.