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The Story of the Singer
As I sit at my sewing machine and watch the needle flash and whir through the dark satin material, I remember that this isn't just a machine that has no life. If it could talk, it would tell me stories of decades long gone, of miles of fabric sewn, of lives lived full of laughter, love, and tears.
The machine belonged to my grandmother, and this year she and my grandfather are celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary. In fact, the blouse I'm sewing is for their party in November, a deep plum satin that will compliment all of the fall colors that we will be decorating with because she loves them so much-- golds, browns, greens, and reds. We're inviting everyone that they've ever known to help commemorate the life they've lived together. And we're going to bring in all the elements that make our family unique, hilarious, and downright quirky-- the retro music, the thousands of cousins, and good Southern hospitality.
As I get ready for the big event, and hear about all the details as they come together, it's an incredible opportunity to remember and ask for the stories that the sewing machine would tell me if it could. Stories of a young girl who learned how to sew in a Catholic boarding school where she lived because her mother wouldn't care for her. The thumping needle would whisper the secrets of a sixteen year old who eloped with a good-looking boy from school and took night classes to finish high school while she worked at a sweat shop so that she and her new husband could afford to live in a tiny house on the same street as his ten other brothers and sisters. It might tell me about a woman who turned away from a life of emptiness and began to love God with all her heart, even when no one else she knew did.
She isn't really my grandmother, you know, she's my father's sister. When my dad was nine his father died, and his mother couldn't and wouldn't be a mother to her children, so the woman that I call my grandmother today went to take her little brothers under her wing. It wasn't easy-- there were legal battles and the difficulty of making her brothers her psuedo-sons. But she never gave up, and my father is the man he is today because of her faith and perseverance.
So as I sit and sew and make lines of stitches, I don't see just an old machine. I see something that has become part of me and my family, with it's occasional snags and puckers, but a result that is overwhelmingly beautiful.