Awhile ago, maybe two months or so, Mary, who I know has knitted some beautiful things in her day, asked me something about a book. I didn’t quite hear which she was talking about but I was glad to help. Ah, she wanted me to have one–oh, thank you for thinking of me!
And then I didn’t hear from her and forgot all about it.
Yesterday morning Michelle showed up at work and blubbered the news and her boss sent her straight home to be with Richard and me. He was Skyping with his siblings; plans were being made, dates and places decided, and after all the phone calls and messages, it seemed so very quiet around here.
The phone rang in the afternoon. Somehow on that day of all days, Mary had felt moved to remember that she had had this book she had wanted me to have, and she asked if she might come over. We don’t live particularly close, especially for a woman of her age, and on any other day I might have had the presence of mind to have offered to come pick it up instead to save her the trip.
I was surprised at how stooped she looked as I opened my door, much more so than I remembered. “I’ll never get through all these now,” she chuckled, waving it away.
Turns out it was a first-edition 1970 Barbara Walker, her Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. Wow. I was delighted, but in case someone else might need it told her I did have the complete set of the more recent reprints–as a matter of fact, the day before, I had mailed my mom’s old set to my daughter and her roommate to have fun with. (My mom had let me have them when she’d downsized.)
She hesitated a moment. I thought, And you came all this way, and my bad hearing, and…
I told her about my friend Gracie Larsen, who knew Barbara Walker and quite a few other big names in knitting, who had pushed me to get my own book out there and who had given me Ms. Walker’s phone number and Meg Swansen’s (her publisher’s) email and had told me to get to it. I’d needed permission to use some of Ms. Walker’s lace patterns within my shawls, and she graciously gave it to me but asked for attribution. Which I gave to the fullest extent of my editors’ cooperation–but it meant that Richard had come home from work that day and I was still fairly speechless at just who I’d talked to that day–wow!
Mary was flipping through her Walker book, and I loved out loud that unlike mine, hers had color.
She grinned, decision made, holding it out. Yours. She knew I would find someone who would appreciate it and love it as she had, starting right now with me for the moment.
I grabbed a waiting copy of “Wrapped in Comfort: Knitted Lace Shawls” and asked her if she would like? Oh, yes! I flipped through, going, and that one is Julia J–, and that one is Nina P–, names she knew and whom I’d designed those shawls for.
She left and I prayed her a safe journey home, marveling that on that day of sorrow, she had brought generosity, love, light, and thinking of something I might like in order to make me happy and to further my skills and had gone so far out of her way to make sure it happened. Because it had felt like the right day to come.
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