Thursday, September 21, 2006

Musings whilst bent over a table taking teeny, tiny stitches

Not a pasttime of my choosing, but nevertheless a labour of love.

When I offered to order the altar cloth and find some lace for it my ego had expanded to such a degree that it had caused me to forget that I am 81 years old, that my eyesight isn't all that great and that my back aches after 15 minutes of bending over. I did have enough presence of mind to
realize that I COULD NOT crochet eight yards of lace, even though I would have liked to think I could undertake such an ambitious task.

I contented myself with finding some suitable lace, and faced with a tableful of ladies who claimed no familiarity with needle and thread, I rose to the occasion and offered to sew the eight yards of lace all around the beautiful Belgium damask altar cloth, - by hand, and with teeny, tiny stitches as befits a beautiful Belgium damask altar cloth.

I did ask for a deadline, knowing well
my propensity to procrastinate.

The altar cloth is to be dedicated this coming Sunday in memory of a dear and faithful friend of all those ladies who sat around the table.

I started the project by extending the dining room table, finding the needles and pins and scissors and thimbles, and a large white linen cloth to lay this exquisite damask on. Then I rummaged around and found a gorgeous recording of Bach's music to inspire me, and to make the needle fly.

As I pinned and stitched the teeny, tiny stitches my thoughts were with Isobel, the friend we are honouring with the donation of this cloth to the Church which she loved so steadfastly.

I remembered her sincere and faithful friendship, her amazing generosity of spirit, her mischievous sense of humour - and the delight of being in her company.

I remembered the spirit of adventure that took her to far flung places when she was young, and the wonderful curiosity and intellect that sparked the endearing stories she told. I remembered a certain sweetness she carried with her, and her concern for those in need, and for those who yearned for love and friendship.

I remembered the way she served her church, in every possible way she could. And I remembered the great pleasure she took in doing this, - and all the funny times she shared with her friends. The laughter, and the dear stories she told. Her appearance on her 80th birthday in a baseball cap captioned
"80 gives you 50" referring to the mileage and kilometre ratio.

Eventually my thoughts strayed to other friends who were close and cherished, and who are no longer with us. And I realized so many of our memories, as we grow older, are peopled by dear shades of the ones we laughed with, and sorrowed with - danced with, shared with - dreams and food, music and precious intimacies. The ones we grew up with, and the ones who guided our growing up time.

These friends live in our hearts, and will survive as long as our memories of them linger, either in our own minds, or in the presence of those with whom we share the memories, - on and on and on.....

Still two yards to stitch with teeny, tiny stitches and time grows short....

P.S. September 24th