June 17, 2012

The Art of Not Finishing Too Soon

I've been quilting most of the day.  I intended to use purple thread throughout but got bored enough three hours ago to switch to turquoise.  I'm hand-stitching, which is my preferred method, except I'm pretty sure the next few sewn pieces I make are going to feature machine-stitching, period.

I like the presence that hand-stitching gives, but the weekend is over, and tomorrow we're back to my compadre's physical therapy calendar and phone calls to verify other doctor's appointments (we have the date and address for one this week but not a single notation about what time we're to be there) and I suppose I should see if I've left any bills unpaid, like, say, my phone bill - and then to pay them.

Less time to stitch, in other words -- and then there are the variables regarding whether I'll make it to Indianapolis for the EEWC conference this coming weekend, which includes a memorial service for Dr. Nancy A. Hardesty on Saturday night.

How can I decide if I'll be able to go when I can't reach a decision about binding this quilt? I want to use Christmas cookie fabric with a red background and gingerbreadcookie-colored cookies and white icing -- fabric that coordinates not at all with the rest of this piece.

I've thought a lot today about what is lost when someone dies.  In Nancy's case, the records of her books and other publications, of the organizations she founded and took part in, the students she taught and writers she encouraged (I'm one; my first book came to be because she called and told me I was ready to write a book) -- all of the official things she did are recorded and listed and will be known in perpetuity. What most people won't know, though, is that she loved picking blueberries and strawberries; that she made jams and jellies every year; that she was the best cookie decorator who ever hung out at my  kitchen table over the Christmas holidays, and that through his friendship with her my late husband learned how to love more broadly than he'd ever dreamed was possible.

So I'm going to keep on stitching, and this throw quilt and I either will or won't get to Indianapolis this year. In any case, the slow stitching has allowed me time to treasure the ordinary moments that illuminated three decades of friendship.  As a friend reminded me, care for the living takes precedence over honoring the dead, but sometimes the two are happening simultaneously.

No comments: