Stitching Good Things Into Our Life Stories

Today we headed back down to the Fair.  You know, my very favorite time of the year.  Since today was the final day of the Fair, we loaded up the crew plus our angel and set out for fun and adventures.

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Despite the midway being my least favorite place, we spent time over there, and the littles loved their first time over there riding the rides.  The Fella had his fill after the Flying Kite ride where you lay down on your stomach and fly around and around in circles.  Mess Cat rode with our Princess, and the Fella rode with Cooter.  Yeah, I was the official photographer.  No rides for me.

Then it was time for my favorite place at the whole fair, the Crafts building.

20131013-212710.jpgThe quilts, the crocheted and knitted dolls, blankets, and other projects.  Canned goods and baked treats, camellias, paintings, photography, art by folks of all ages.  I love it.

Aub ran into an old friend while we were there, Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty.  She shared her sweet tea with him, which made him happy happy happy.

Aub and Uncle Si.  He was a part of the 4-H scarecrow competition.  I love seeing all the creativity the young people have in creating their scarecrows.

Aub and Uncle Si. He was a part of the 4-H scarecrow competition. I love seeing all the creativity the young people have in creating their scarecrows.

While we were there, the littles carried on the tradition of painting a wooden figure/ornament.

Each year they paint something to bring home.  I love traditions.

Each year they paint something to bring home. I love traditions.

They also started a new tradition.  The leatherwork folks were there, and you could make a leather bracelet or bookmark.  They both enjoyed this. It made me smile because when I was in elementary school the leather bracelet with your name on it was THE thing.  I almost made myself one today, but held back–all for the children’s sake, you know.  But oh, the memories.

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What was most special in the building were the memories.  I saw the camellias on display.  In my previous life, I did love camellias.  While walking through, I came across someone I worked with twenty-five years ago.  Mr. T, such a kind soul, sold the number two peaches when I was working my way through college at Sunburst Fruit Packers in the summers.  It was a sweet visit to the past.

Then there was this.

20131013-212643.jpgThe art of needlework on display.

This is the first year that I didn’t spend time going through all the creative displays (isn’t this one lovely?), looking for our cousin’s handiwork, checking to see if she won a ribbon, and taking a picture of it.  Miss B was Mama’s first cousin once removed, as her grandmother and Miss B’s mother were sisters.  Mama was Miss B’s guardian, as she was mildly mentally delayed.  The true story as to whether she was born with the delay or something happened is lost somewhere in the family lore.  The important thing is she was cared for by people who loved her–first her Mama, then her Aunt, whom she adored, then a cousin, and then my Mama.  Each year Mama encouraged Miss B in her needlework, and when it was done, Mama took it to be matted and framed, except for the year she embroidered the state birds quilt, the year she made a butterfly quilt, and the year she embroidered a shower curtain.  Yes, she was just that good.  Here, you can see for yourself.

All those intricate stitches.  There's no telling how long this took her, sitting in her red chair, working away diligently.  She truly had a gift--of patience and with the needle.

All those intricate stitches. There’s no telling how long this took her, sitting in her red chair, working away diligently. She truly had a gift–of patience and with the needle.

She knew I loved sunflowers.  The one below hung in her room.  Each time I visited her she told me she wanted me to have it one day.  “I know how you love your sunflowers.”

I dearly love this gift from Miss B.  She stitched with love and skill.

I dearly love this gift from Miss B. She stitched with love and skill.

While Mama was at her HospitalStay in February, Miss B was taken to the ER and later admitted to the hospital in another town.  It was her lung problems.  While there she fell and broke her hip.  In the end, I guess she never really recovered from the surgery for that.  Her lungs just weren’t strong enough.  So exactly one week after Mama left us for a better place, Miss B followed her on the journey.  It was appropriate, I think, that Mama, who had taken such good care of Miss B in life, went ahead to pave the way for her journey there.

This is the first Fair that I haven’t had the adventure of looking for her work.  While she was in the hospital, some of her kind ladies came to see her and talked to her about how she had to get back home so she could work on her Fair entry. Weeks later, when I was getting her room cleaned out, a dear friend of hers and Mama’s came to help me.  She pointed to the sunflowers, “You know those are yours.  She wanted you to have them, said you loved your sunflowers.”

Tears.  Of sadness.  Of joy.  Of gratitude and admiration.

By all reports, most likely she should not have been able to create the beautiful pieces she did.  She was so patient and intent on completing each project.  When I was going through her things, I found this blanket.

Each stitch of this twin sized blanket is single crocheted.  Single.  Crocheted.  For real.  The time she put in this.....unbelievable.

Each stitch of this twin sized blanket is single crocheted. Single. Crocheted. For real. The time she put in this…..unbelievable.

Single crocheted.  Each and every stitch.  Pretty sure each color represents one skein of yarn.  The fact that it is single crocheted means it took a lot of time–no easy way out when you are making those tiny stitches.

She did what some might have deemed impossible.  Because she tried.  Because she focused, had a goal, and worked diligently towards it.  She also was very sweet and loved my family.  Our Princess was born on her birthday.  She was convinced it was because she had asked me to have her on that day.  From that moment on, our Princess was hers.  Pictures on her little mini-fridge in her room, and she cross-stitched ballet slippers for our Princess to hang on her wall.

Somehow I think she would have been proud of her Princess and Cooter today.  They set out with a goal and went after something that some would have deemed impossible.  Much like she did.  They set out to climb their own mountaintops…..just like her.

Cooter was right behind his sister not to be outdone.  He kept on trying.  Way to go, bud!

Cooter was right behind his sister not to be outdone. He kept on trying. Way to go, bud!

Princess made it almost to the top.  So proud of her.  The whole thing was her idea.  She set her sights and went after it.  Keep that up baby and you'll go far!

Princess made it almost to the top. So proud of her. The whole thing was her idea. She set her sights and went after it. Keep that up baby and you’ll go far!

Tonight after an exhausting day of many steps down memory lane, I will lay my head down on my pillow with a full heart and a thankful one.  Miss B was a beautiful soul with a simple, beautiful heart.  She found joy in pretty things and she shared beauty with those she loved.  Her handiwork is the stuff of family heirlooms, and that is how we treat it.  Most of all the lesson of her patience and determination and dedication will last for generations to come.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.  Go after what you want but be willing to work and work hard to make it happen.  Those are the great things to stitch into our stories. The needlework of our lives comes together one stitch at a time to form the big, beautiful picture we call this life.

A bit sappy and sentimental tonight perhaps, but how could I not be?  Trips down memory lane can do that to a person.  Wishing you all happy trails on your own memory lanes…..love to all.

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5 thoughts on “Stitching Good Things Into Our Life Stories

    • It really is beautiful, isn’t it? For someone who functioned at between a 6-8 year old level, it was even more amazing to see what she created with her hands. And I am the lucky one who inherited most of it. Which makes this sappy sentimentalist very, very happy. Would love to show you more sometime. Thanks for reading.

    • Isn’t it? Thank you for noticing. I am so lucky to have so much of her work to put in my home. If you met her, you might not believe she could do such beautiful work, but underneath all the outside stuff was a patient soul who loved sharing beauty and color. She took pride in her work and loved sharing it so much.

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