Day Thirty-One: Harangue
This. Standing in her pyjamas with a neatly folded stack of material resting like a platter in her left hand. She points at a piece of green fabric with white polka dots. Is a piece of my grandmother's dress, that my aunt Maureen gave me. Maureen from our quilting group is in her sixties and cracked us all up last week by exclaiming, over a meandering conversation about relationships, that she hasn't a horny bone in her body. Anymore. Giggling over her new suitor, the first in eight years since her husband died.
Quilting is Natt's Thursday afternoon ritual. Regardless of the state of her house, her life, her love, or her mind, every Thursday is about quilting with her aunts. They don't use machines. In place of the whir and hum of mechanical assembly, the room is filled with stories, history, laughter. Every quilt is sewn by hand. Her latest project is in it's third year. I balk at this and tell her I wouldn't have the patience. What's the rush? she shrugs, loading a wicker basket full of supplies into the back seat of her Jetta. She means it isn't about finishing, not entirely. It's about the gathering. Collecting. The practice. Stitch by stitch she harnesses the power of the past—the strength, courage, and fortitude of the women of her family. Their undying ability to put up with husbands, for example, and after everything—after a lifetime of haranguing and heartache, babies and bathwater—to love them.
She wore this dress, she says, pointing still, her eyes radiating the significance of it. She wore it, she says. And I'll stitch it into a quilt one day, and I will carry it with me till the day I die.