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The Quilting Bee, Grandmothers, and Grins
I stopped in to visit my grandparents one day while coming home from work. I stopped in often back then to see them, even if only for a few minutes. I parked on the street, walked up the little hill and saw that Grandma was having a Quilting Bee.
Little old ladies surrounded a table, covered with a quilt that was three quarters done. They were giggling and laughing about something one of them had said. The sun was shining down on their straw and felt hats, shadowing white hair and beautiful smiling faces.
These ladies were having fun! As I walked by the ladies, grandma just had to introduce me to her friends. She bragged about how I stopped to see her and grandpa all the time. She of course had to embarrass me by drawing attention to how cute I was. I was surprised that my long hair and hippie clothes didn't even get me one frown. They all smiled.
I went on in and talked with grandpa a while as he smoked his pipe. I heard Grandma's voice come through the screen door, "Tom, there's a fresh batch of cookies on the stove!" I could never resist her cookies. I munched on cookies and talked with Grandpa a while. He told me about working on the old Star company buildings. He was a carpenter. I always loved hearing his stories of the 1913 flood and his many wonderful journeys through life. They were so honest, straight from the heart and to the point.
It was time for Grandpa's nap and time for me to head home. I gave Grandma a hug and a kiss on the cheek while hearing..."aaawwwws" from the ladies. I could hear them giggling and all talking at once as I walked to my car. Grandma and the ladies waved as I pulled away.
Those days and those moments deeply touched my heart. That day was a snapshot of life that I hold like a treasure in memory.
I am so thankful that I spent time with my grandparents. Even if I had a hot date, I managed to leave early to visit them. They didn't seem to care if I stayed fifteen minutes or a couple of hours. They were glad to see me as I was them.
The Quilt Grandma made for us.
Over the years, my wife, Tammy, has patched up the old quilt that Grandma made us as a wedding present. It has faded and is worn but has always made us feel a little warmer and closer as we sleep.
I am proud of my Wife, Mother and Grandmothers. They have lived, loved and endured along side myself, my Father and Grandfathers.
Years later, I heard a young professional woman make fun of women sewing. She talked about how women broke out of the old mold and were finally serving a greater purpose. The only thing I said to her was,"You need to read some history books!"
I thought about my Grandma. I thought of the ladies who were with her that day. Grandma had raised nine children. She did loads of washing for local nursing homes. She did it by hand in a galvanized tub. She and Grandpa never took a dime from the government. They worked hard, paid for their house and retired with money they saved.
I thought about the Pioneer women who sewed their families clothes, worked in the gardens and fields, helped build their homes and many times, educated their children. To think that the women of history had less of a purpose than men is an extremely arrogant and ignorant thought.
Maybe an old patch quilt could say it best. Working together to create something beautiful is the very purpose of life. This Mother's Day, I will think of my Mom who worked in sweat shops and factories much of her life. I will think of my Grandmother who worked so hard all of those years. I will think of my wife who has worked by my side and at home so many times. I will think of beauty and strength. I will think of endurance, sacrifice and love.