Sewing that little place in my heart . . . . .


Necktie Quilt 2

Let me tell you about my afternoon. Not that you will be interested … unless you are one who likes to sew.

When I left the big house to come to my sweet little widow’s home, I sold or gave away almost everything.  Except one.  I kept my fabric.  There has always been the rumor that she who has the most fabric when she dies will win the contest.  I might certainly qualify.

I fell in love with fabric in high school where I took Home Economics every single year. We not only learned to cook, we learned every type of sewing. It came in handy after I married. I sewed my own clothes, sewed my daughter’s prom dresses, and later quilts for my daughter and my  grandchildren, doll quilts, and even cozy lap quilts for all the men in the family. I wrote them a note asking then to put it over their knees when they are old and think of me.  When my husband died I made a crazy quilt of all his neckties, embroidering around each one, as crazy quilts are done.

But today, looking toward my 91st birthday tomorrow, I took an honest moment and knew I would not be sewing any more quilts. So I spent the afternoon sorting out these fabrics, measuring, labeling, packaging them to sell at my garage sale next month.. No one will pay what the’re worth, but then no one can know what they’re worth to me.

If it’s possible that we come back and lead another life, who knows.  I may be a famous athlete.  Then at some time I will have to decide what to do with my medals, because I can’t take them with me. Nor can I take my favorite skillet. or my money, or my million photographs, or my wonderful  Clarks shoes, or my . . . . . . . . .


Scene from the ceiling of Royal River Casino, Flandreau, South Dakota


Okay.  I’ve done something I’ve said I would never do

I’ve gotten onto a bus with a bunch of older people and gone on a trip to a casino.

Maybe it was curiosity, or maybe my need to get up out of my chair and move.  But actually it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.  For the price of $50 I could ride about four hours through Nebraska and then South Dakota, enjoying the views of the lush green fields of soybeans and corn on slightly rolling hills. Then, arriving at a large casino about 3:00 p.m. I would be given a very nice hotel room, all my meals, $25 to gamble with and an extra amount because it’s my birthday month. And it was all as described.

Some years back many Indian reservations throughout the Midwest built casinos, very nice ones, and it was a treat for people who didn’t have the time or the money to go to Las Vegas.  Early ones gave generous wins to spread the word, and I was fortunate to have some of those wins and to save that money for future ventures.

I know that gambling can be a problem for some people. It has not been a problem for me, because I am still using money from those early wins and also because I play conservatively and for my entertainment, not for an addiction.  Twice I won $1000 on a carousel  that was just lots of fun and I got lucky.   In those days, maybe two or three times a year, I drove a little over an hour to a casino on the edge of Iowa to spend an afternoon of pure abandon, forgetting everything, enjoying the jing-jang-jing of coins falling and flashing lights and people hastening to my machine to pay me in cash.  Really.

It has all changed. No more jangling of coins.  No coins are used and no coins given. One inserts a bill and when he leaves a machine whatever he has left is rolled out of the machine on a strip of paper which he can either put into another machine or turn in to the cashier for cash. Most of the machines play a quirky little tune (constantly!. . the kind that goes home with you and won’t shut up)  But the afternoon serves a purpose for me.  There is no way I can worry while in this atmosphere, no way I can intellectualize. I go home with my mind a clean slate, ready to start the next day with new enthusiasm.

This week’s trip was an experiment to appease my decision not to drive out of town anymore. It’s not that I don’t want to admit that I’m old, but that I intend to enjoy myself and to contribute to society by staying active however I can.  Actually, I think I was the oldest one on the bus. But what the heck. I had a good time and I broke even.

From the chair . . . . .

Granny Chair

The Chair

If you’ve read my book you’ve seen the poem that people seem to like best of all the poems I’ve written.  It begins “Now that I’m older I have my own chair that nobody uses but me, they don’t dare.”  So true that we claim our favorite chair and spend time in it, and thinking about that this morning I came upon a flood of ideas.

I realize that I write best in my chair.  Sitting here, often still in my nightgown, with the news turned down and my coffee cup empty, I come upon an idea and with the computer in my lap I begin talking to it with my fingers.  I write whatever comes to me, just letting it flow.

It is later, on another day, at a different time I go into my office to conduct the business of reviewing this writing, organizing or making corrections.  It is in my office that I may prepare the writing to send off to a publication or to file as a possible piece for a book.

This is the way things work.  Inspiration comes through to us when we are relaxed, just being ourselves, when we are in the “feeling” part of us. To make use of this inspiration we move into the business side of our nature and do the work of refining and sharing.

Just like I can dream of how I want my house to be.  I can see what I want the rooms to look like. I can feel the way a room could make me feel. But to make this dream come true I must earn the money to fund the changes, shop at stores to make choices and compare prices, hire others to do the work that’s beyond me. Then it all comes together.

But back to the chair.  It is the chairman who is in charge of the board.  To get something done we ask someone to chair the committee.  When we demand the complete truth from someone we place him in a chair.  We train our newest family members in a high chair so they can join us at our level, learn about our foods, listen to our words and watch our faces. And in past years when someone destroyed his own life by taking the life of others,he was sentenced to the chair.

I can think of so many times in my life when I lost my direction or when I was debating my choices, or when I was stressed by decisions, that I dropped it all and sat down to think of nothing, perhaps to doze.  And how often I woke up to the thought “I know what I want to do!” and then I went and did it.

What it comes down to is that we are each the chairman of our own life.  No matter what. If we are not running our own life we have made the decision as chairman to hand it over to someone else.  Rehab is making our decision to take it back.

These things I must remember.  It is my body that rests in the comfort of my chair.  And when I am completely relaxed and have put aside for the moment all of life’s challenges, I am me and it is my soul that speaks.