Edgar and Rob
Thursday March 15th 2007, 1:23 pm
Filed under: Knit

This is Edgar.

The cop, who’d only been a block away, leaned in the window of my car, where the change drawer and the glove compartment were thrown open and the contents spewed and the mirror completely skewed sideways, and whistled, “He hit you hard!” I have no memory of the second impact, just of a sense of flying airborne through a crazily-kaleidoscoped Alice-in-Wonderland scene. Somebody far away screamed. It was possibly me–I honestly don’t know. Seatbelts, but no airbags: we had held onto the ’88 Accord for teaching our teenagers how to drive without ever worrying about scratches and bumps.

I arrived for my first appointment for testing that was to try to pinpoint where my brain and visual damage was and to set up a therapy program tailored around that.

Rob came into the waiting room. I had the blue version of the Strawberry Pie shawl in my hands, a shimmery silk/wool mix, the one pictured on my website, and to my delighted surprise, he took a moment to admire it and to say how much he loves it when people create something by hand. It was the day before the first anniversary of 9/11, and yet somehow he was fully focused on his patient and fully there for me. I was charmed.

He then put me through the various tests he had at hand, wrote up his recommendations, and handed me off to the person who was to do those therapy sessions.

But that hour and a half with him had a tremendous impact on me: because, not having ever laid eyes on me before, it mattered deeply to him how I did, and he hoped I might recover my balance. His was a warm and soft touch to a hard time in my life. He had no way of knowing, but my accident was the least of it to me just then.

And so, I went back to that office later with a sheep, twin to this one.

I’d gone to a handweavers’ conference and bought, by feel, the softest kid mohair fleece that Buckeye Farm had had in their booth. When I chose it, the owner picked it up in its bag, exclaimed, “Oh! Edgar!” and rubbed a handful of the locks blissfully against her cheek before parting with it. Edgar was her pet, and now I got to go home with his fleece, which was finer and softer than most cashmeres. She tried to show me how to spin it so that the ends of the locks would fluff out a bit from the yarn. Cool.

The brown is baby alpaca, the eyes cashmere. I had two weeks before my next appointment. I wanted a way to tell Rob:

That he heals the people around him in ways he could never know, by who he is and how he holds them in great tenderness in his work. He had no idea I had a friend dying the day I walked into his office, and another friend’s son had just passed. That my own daughter, with ITP, the autoimmune equivalent of hemophilia, had had her platelets drop by 25 to 25 that week, and since she was away at college, I wasn’t sure I’d ever see her again. My accident was the least of my worries just then. But it was all he knew about.

But somehow, through the gentle words and motions with which he put me through those tests, he made me come away feeling like it would all come out okay. There might be loss, but I could bear up under it now.

Feed my sheep. So I knitted up Edgar into an Edgar for him. I found a card with a beautiful Ansel Adams photograph and quoted that phrase for him: saying, to me, it means, look out for one another. Be there for each other. I thanked him for helping me deal with far more than he could possibly have known, simply by who he was.

And I gave him, as a testimony to the power of his goodwill, the sheep I had knitted for him out of the Buckeye Farm’s kid mohair fleece and two other, nameless animals.

Technical notes on construction: yes, Afton, I made this second one so I could write up the pattern for you, and then I promptly lost the piece of paper before I could enter it in the computer. The bottoms of the legs are single crochet, eight stitches, with the knitted stitches picked up and worked up from there. Bulky yarn, as small needles as you can comfortably work it on, you want it good and dense. The legs are worked separately and put aside, then the main body knitted, adding the legs on as you go. Robert’s was done starting at the tail end. Note that it is far more fun to look at a sheep’s face than its butt as you’re knitting–so I did this one face first. Attach the eyes before you stuff the face with wool roving. Ears are done with short-rowing. One other thing: I tried to make a third sheep with the color scheme reversed, got the head done, and it looked like a Mexican Day of the Dead festival participant. It freaked me quietly out, much though I assured myself it did not, and I never finished it.

The last time I was in that office, Rob showed me his sheep, perched happily at the top of his cubicle for everybody to see. Ansel Adams was on his desk.

9 Comments so far
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You are also a uniquely healing person, and I am deeply honored to know you and call you friend. Thank you for being such a wonderful person on my life!

Comment by Sandi 03.16.07 @ 1:35 am

Likewise, Sandi. Likewise.

Comment by AlisonH 03.16.07 @ 12:52 pm

Allison, a beautiful story… from both ends, yours and Robs. Thanks for sharing such a personal part of your life!

Comment by Carole 09.19.07 @ 4:16 pm

[…] one of the weirder side effects of smacking my head hard twice against the headrest during my car accident.  (Rob, if you read that, thank you again.)  But I found myself drawn to the pinkish reds at […]

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