"Hey grandma, what cha doin'?" I asked in my little girl voice. Grandma looked up and a broad smile spread across her face. "Oh, just quilting, Chrissy. Come sit on your Grandma's lap while I work."
After hugging her a bit too tightly and placing a kiss firmly on her cheek, I cuddled in her arms to watch. After what seemed like an hour to me, but was actually only minutes in reality, Grandma firmly said, "Now Chrissy, sit still you're hurting my legs with all that squirming around!"
"Oh! I'm sorry Grammy," I said as I wrinkled up my nose, giggling as I slid to the floor. I looked up at her to see if she was angry. I could see that she was amused at my "cute" actions. I decided not to push my luck.
I sat quietly cross-legged on the floor watching as she sorted and stacked the small squares. I was never, and doubtfully ever will be, someone content to just sit and watch. I reached my tiny hand deep into the worn pillowcase, pulling out many squares of beautiful colored material.
"Sweetheart, go slow. Why don't you tell me, one by one, the colors you see? Do you know all your colors?"
"GRANDMA! Of course I do! I am five you know," I said matter of factly with my hands on my hips. I could see how she had to bite her lip to keep from laughing.
"All right then, my big girl, let's get busy and sort by color." "Sure thing, Grammy; red, blue, green," I mumbled as I slowly stacked each color into perfect little piles. "OH! Stars and Moons! " I squealed with excitement.
She always seemed amazed at how the smallest things would delight me. Once again, she grinned from ear to ear.
I noticed that from time to time she would stop and look at one of the squares. Tenderly she would hold them in her half-crippled hands, touching and smoothing the cloth and smiling to herself. To me they were just pieces of scraps, but to her they seemed to be something more, something very special.
I stared at her wondering why she looked so strange. Very quietly I touched her hand and asked, "Grandmother, please tell me the story."
"What story is that Chrissy?" she said looking a bit confused.
"I know magic when I see it Grandma, and I see magic in your eyes."
"My, my, Chrissy, you ARE a smart little girl after all. You see, those tiny squares are bits and pieces from my past. The red velvet ones are from your first Christmas dress. The blue ones are from your mother's wedding dress and the other colors are from different moments that I will remember all of my life. I can take my past into the future. I can work on this now, with you, and pass it along. This quilt is my masterpiece."
"Why did you forget to tell me about the moon and the stars?" I said pouting.
I could barely hear as she whispered, "Well, my Angel, those are to represent YOUR hopes and dreams. Promise me that you will never forget them! Dreams are the wishes the heart makes."
I wondered, were those tears that formed in the corner of her eyes as she told me the story, and why did she cry?
Many years have come and gone since I woke up one winter's morning and found that beautiful quilt covering me. Grandma had been making it for me! Then I understood the tears that had been in her eyes.
I had forgotten about the quilt until today when I was talking to a friend. He is also an aspiring writer and I found that we have a lot in common, even though he is more experienced and I consider him my teacher and my mentor. We shared how we both have note pads where we gather bits and pieces of ourselves and parts of our lives.
Our pages are full of moons and stars. Like Grandma's quilt, we save and collect scraps of hopes and dreams. I believe that great writers collect bits and pieces, hopes and dreams, for years, saving them, and then one day they "quilt" them into masterpieces called stories. ---