Tuesday, 24 December 2013
By Karen Zaun Kennedy who blogs at Sweetwater Lane
Tender and loving, her hands move in and out of the red felt. Each new stitch smoothed into place with her nimble thumb, a gesture I have seen hundreds of times.
I am amazed at the tiny stitches done so quickly with a practiced precision. The needle, thin and small, like the woman; forced to do the impossible by her creative energy and vision.
With each stitch, the perfection of the holiday symbol emerges and I hear it jingle, though she has not sewn the tiny bell in place yet. Before she will, she searches through her supplies for sequins to adorn the white shape.
“What do you think, deah?” she asks in a thick Yankee accent. “What colors do you think he will like?”
“Hmmm, let me think.” I love the gold best but I’m not sure a boy would so I say blue.”
“Good choice,” Gramma replies, smiling with a twinkle in her eye that makes me think there is magic there. “This is where I must sew very carefully to hide the thread,” she continues. “Can you find me the blue?” she asks as she sorts the sequins.
Searching the vast treasures in the sewing box, I hand her a blue I think will match the royal sequins best. She puts one end in her mouth to dampen it, making it slide into the eye of the needle more smoothly.
She then pulls an arms length through the needle and snips the end with tiny scissors. In an instant, she knots one end and resumes.
Deftly she pushes the needle, back to front, inserting a tiny shimmering sequin onto its point before pushing it back through the fabric, up again through the sequin’s center and down once more to hold the gem in place. She repeats this a dozen more times until three sparkling rows adorn the bell.
I sit at her side and watch, enthralled at the ease with which she creates such holiday magic. Someday I will do this too, I think, trying to imagine a day when I will be grown up and preparing a holiday tradition for some newborn babies.
Gramma contemplates the stocking, smoothing it with her craggy nimble fingers. “Do you know how to spell his name?” she asks.
I notice the little white letters on the cluttered coffee table and lay them out in a row, rearranging until I think I have it right.
She bends her curly gray head toward me and taps each letter as she says its name aloud, “P-E-T-E-R. Very good!” she says giving me a soft squeeze.
I beam with pride, reveling in this special moment. Being alone with my grandmother is a rare thing. I am only one of many grandchildren.
The newest is my brother and this sewing project is in preparation for his first Christmas. I know Gramma has created similar stockings many times before. There are already four at my house alone. They sit on the back of the couch every Christmas Eve to receive the silver dollars, naval oranges, chocolate coins and tiny gifts.
Though the leaves are still falling outside, I shiver in anticipation, picking up a miniature gold bell, listening to its sweet tinkling. As Gramma continues to work, I settle on the familiar hooked rug and explore the array of trinkets that may one day be my legacy.
[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]