Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ten Things: Four

Lately I have been thinking about my Great Aunt A.  I would tell you that she taught me how to crochet, but that isn't strictly true.  She taught me to crochet, while I was teaching myself how to crochet; that is, that crocheting is a worthwhile pastime and can produce valuable, desirable finished objects.  Likewise, she taught me about sewing, embroidering and other needle-crafts.

Aunt A. was a remarkable needle-worker herself and had made beautiful clothing for my mother (and her dolls) when my mother was a child, and had moved on to afghans and pillow-cases and crocheted lace Christmas angels as she grew older.  She never did anything less than her best work.

I would work next to her with my crochet hook or embroidery needle, and from time to time look for her approval.  She was always gentle and kind; the worst thing she ever said was, "You didn't do a good job."

I hear those words now as I look at a crooked seam, a split stitch or a sloppy join.  They don't always make me go back and redo my work -- sometimes it isn't worth it -- but they always make me think.

First, that I should always do my best work, that there is no excuse for that.  I try to remember that and, if I am tired or just don't feel like sewing or knitting, stop.

Second, that kindness and gentleness go far in this world.  They go farther than we can ever know.  I try to remember that and moderate my words and tone whenever I speak.  This is very hard.

Aunt A. died before she knew of the influence she had on my life.  I tell K stories about her while we sew together, and I hope that K will know some of the goodness and richness that my aunt brought to my life.

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