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Warmth

April 7, 2011

This week’s IndieInk Challenge from the Ah-mazing MissAshTuesday: How is a craft (you pick) like some sort of lesson in life?

I encourage you to read the other Indie Ink Challenge participants — search on #IIChallenge hashtag on Twitter or go to IndieInk.org for deets. They rock.

WARMTH



She looked so small, in that very large, very white hospital bed. Wearing a white wool knitted cap on the tiny, bald freckled little head she desperately didn’t want anyone to see even now, when she was so close to her last, ragged breaths.


The cap wasn’t special to her. She’d made thousands like it over the years; gnarled hands clicking away in her comfortable leather chair, knitting knitting knitting through storms and death, smoke and pain.


The men…well, they’d come and gone but she…she’d always had her knitting. The point was to complete the task and move on. Create something you could hold in your hand.


Her mama had taught her when times were tight; it had come in handy during the Depression when she’d had to knit her own family’s warm clothes. Even sold some. Pennies, that was something back then. Pennies could make soup for a week, she’d tried to tell us. But we just wanted to watch TV shows and chew gum. Pick the red paint off her porch and watch as it crumbled into dust, staining our palms crimson for days.

We didn’t care about the knitting. It was too complicated, not fun for little kids.


She didn’t seem to mind, sitting us down with our own packs of Doublemint Gum and childish coloring books, not noticing her cigarette smoke swirling past our noses as it rose up to the ceiling where it would hang in heavy white clouds, mocking our discomfort.

We loved our grandmother because we were supposed to, despite the fact that she was a terrible cook who made us watch Lawrence Welk while we chewed, in that awful, small little room; her knitting needles clicking clicking clicking away. She made slippers mostly with little colored poms-poms on the top, donating them to the hospital where she volunteered, pushing her wares on family members hoping to ease the pain of critically ill patients not long for this world.

She wasn’t a warm, loving woman. As I grew older, I understood more of her life and what made her that way, despite the fact that more than distance had caused us to grow apart. 

“I know you!” she exclaimed with surprising vigor when she saw me that last time, sharp as ever.  

I said my goodbyes as she lay dying, finally, of lung cancer; I realized that her knitting was perhaps what kept her alive those many years.

It was her way of giving warmth.

Comments welcome, retweets and mentions loved.

If you haven’t already, please purchase my eBook A Walk In The Snark for just 99 cents the rest of today as part of the Indie Book Collective’s Bestseller For A Day promotion.

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