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Stories about life and family. 

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Ann

Lessons From Dad

              In honor of Father's Day I'd like to share a story about my Dad that I posted on another blog site several months ago.

 

Dad was one of 13 children.  I know they didn't have much in the way of material things and I'm not sure how much affection was shown while Dad and his brothers and sisters were growing up.  I would guess, based on things I remember about Dad while I was growing up, that there weren't a lot of hugs and kisses.

I think my grandparents probably had to work so hard just to survive that there was only time and energy for the bare basics. What was yours was yours as long as you could hold on to it.  I'm no psychologist but I know those growing years and the events that happened helped shape Dad's character and personality.  Looking back now as an adult and remembering bits of conversation between Dad and his siblings I can understand how he came to be who he was.

I remember one time when Dad and a couple of his brothers were target practicing using shotguns and he decided I was old enough to learn to shoot.  He handed me a 12 gauge, showed me how to load it, told me to tuck it in tight to my shoulder and aim; if I didn't it would kick and knock me on my rear.  I didn't tuck it in and down I went on my rear just like Dad said.  I think he knew that was going to happen and that they would all laugh, including Dad.  I didn't like being laughed at and I didn't want to do it anymore, but Dad told me to get up and try again.  He had me keep at it until I could handle that shotgun and hit the target with accuracy.  I learned not to give up.

Bills were always paid first, a little set aside for savings, and groceries bought with what was left.  Dad called the bit of savings his "tuck".  If you wanted something and couldn't afford it, you saved for it or went without until you could pay for it.  More often than not it was go without.  As far as Dad's "tuck" went, that was generally his to use for what he wanted, be it a new gun or coon dog.  While we lived in the city, Mom would sometimes work outside the home at part-time jobs for extra money.  Once we moved to the country, however, having only one car meant Mom worked in the home exclusively so she had to work within Dad's budget and manage with whatever money he gave her.

I applied for my first job the day I turned 16, was hired and started work that weekend.  I worked 5:00 am to 2:30 pm every weekend, on holidays and summer vacations.  If needed, I worked double shifts.  I also paid room and board.  I did not mind one bit.  I was becoming an adult and learning to provide for myself, and the money went to Mom. I learned that nothing is free, if you want something you work for it.

Whining didn't get you out of doing something you didn't like.  There were lots of things my sisters and I hated doing like picking rocks to clear an overgrown yard so grass seed could be planted.  It didn't matter to Dad.  If he said pick rocks we picked rocks or whatever else needed to be done until it was finished.  You don't give up or do it half-assed (Dad's words). There was no such thing as "I can't" or "I don't want to".  You did what needed to be done and you did it the best you could.

There was one exception that I can remember.  Dad would butcher chickens and we kids had to help clean them.  He'd butcher the birds outside but the worse part was the cleaning of the birds was done at the kitchen table.  A large pot of water was brought to boil on the kitchen stove.  Dad would dip the birds in the boiling water and then we plucked the feathers.  Dad would then burn the pin feathers off over the flame of the kitchen stove.  The stench of burnt feathers and chicken entrails is not pleasant and the odor would linger for a while in the kitchen after we were done.  At some point I decided I wasn't going to do this again. Dad told me "If you don't help with this you don't get to eat chicken".  

That was fine with me.  "I won't eat chicken" I told him and after that I didn't help with cleaning chickens again. Dad's rule about not eating if you didn't help held and I was alright with that.  I learned about choices and consequences.

Sometimes Dad would take us with him when he'd run his coon hound at night.  We always looked forward to going with him even though he'd stay out for hours at a time.  That is probably why we were only able to go with him on weekends.  Often one or more of his brothers would join us.  One night in particular stands still stands out in my memory so many years later.

We were at another Uncle's farm; Dad, Uncle Nick, myself and another sister but I don't remember which one. We were all together in an open field surrounded by woods on both sides and there was enough moonlight that we could see the valley below us as the mists started slowing forming.

It was late Summer/early Autumn and in my mind I can still see that night sky.  It was so clear and the stars so bright you felt you could reach up and touch them.  The night air was a mix of warm and cool breezes and carried the sound of Dad's dog baying in the distance.  I can remember the chirping sound of peepers all around us, and the earthy scent of the surrounding woods and the fresh-cut hay from the field we were in.

I remember how we sat together on the ground in that field just being there in the moment.  Dad and Uncle Nick were talking, sometimes in Russian, and it felt so comforting to be there with them.  I wish I had the right words so anyone reading this would be able to feel that moment the way we did and I still do.  I remember laying down on the ground, looking up at the night sky and eventually falling asleep to the sound of Dad's and Uncle Nick's low voices.

I learned that it's the simple moments in life that make the best memories.

 

 

All rights reserved.  I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it's my story so no using or copying any content in any manner without the express written permission of the owner...me.

Ann

A few years ago one of my sisters shared a story with me about her son's misadventures at work and I thought I'd share the story again.

My nephew worked at an office that used sand bags for therapy.   In my humble opinion, my nephew is a good-looking young man.  He has that "boy next door" handsomeness with a smile that catches and keeps your attention.

On this particular day at work the sand bags broke, were needed before replacements could be delivered, so being creative, the employees scooped the sand into zip lock bags and wrapped the bags with duct tape.

When they ran out of duct tape my nephew was sent to Wal-Mart to purchase more.  The single roll he purchased wasn't enough so he was sent back to Wal-Mart to purchase more tape.  This time he purchased two of the largest rolls  of duct tape he could find.

When it came time to pay for his purchase he happened to go to the same cashier.

Now, the following is my interpretation of the conversation between my nephew and the cashier based on my sister's re-telling.  We were both laughing and I had to ask her to repeat some parts of her story because I thought it was so funny.

Cashier:  "Must be a big project to use so much duct tape".

Nephew:  "I didn't realize it took so much duct tape to kidnap someone".

Silence from the cashier.  I can picture her staring at him because of what he said while he's standing there smiling back at her.

Cashier:  "I'll be with you in a moment sir".   She turned away from him and reached for the phone by her register.  My nephew couldn't hear what she was saying because she kept her voice very low.

Nephew:  "Is there a problem"?

Cashier:  "No sir".

Nephew:  "Could you ring this up please"?

Cashier:  "Just a minute sir".

The store manager walks over at this point and starts questioning my nephew.

"What's your name, what do you need the duct tape for, do you have ID".

At this point my nephew realized the cashier took his joking comment seriously.  He explained to the Store Manager he was only kidding when she asked about the duct tape.  Luckily for my nephew, he had a business card with him and he showed this to the Manager while explaining why he was buying the duct tape.

Here's another nephew adventure story my sister shared with me.

My nephew was having a problem at work with someone messing with his lunches; either eating things or hiding things.  Having had enough, one day he packed two sandwiches liberally spreading a liquid laxative on one sandwich.  He placed his sandwhiches in the refrigerator at work being careful so he would know which sandwhich was safe to eat.

Lunch time came and he saw that "someone" had taken a sandwich.  Unfortunately for nephew the "someone" took the safe sandwhich.  Nephew ate his sandwhich for lunch but discovered it wasn't the safe one.  It was the sandwhich he had liberally laced with the liquid laxative.

It was a fast acting laxative.

Nephew has a wonderful sense of humor but sometimes, as often happens in life, it can bite you in the ass.

 

 

All rights reserved.  I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it's my story so no using or copying any content in any manner without the express written permission of the owner.....me.

 

 

 

 

Ann

I'm not really very active on social media but I do like checking out Pinterest.  I enjoy the inspirational quotes, recipes and other ideas available on this site.  Several weeks ago I came across something that stayed with me and I realize I can use it to describe how the month of May went for me.

Paraphrasing, it went something like "some see the glass as half empty and some see the glass as half full but what they forget is the glass can be refilled".

Despite what some of my sisters would say, I prefer to see the glass as half full but this past May proved to be very challenging to that way of thinking.

It started the end of April when out of the blue, without any symptoms or warning, Hubby was admitted to the ICU for three days because of an unexplained infection.

The glass was emptying fast.

He was discharged without any real understanding of how or why he got this infection but we were just relieved that he was home.

The glass was refilling.

Unfortunately, three weeks or so later Hubby was re-admitted to the hospital for the same issue just about an hour after leaving the Doctor's office.  Six days later he's home again, with some other issues, but at least he was home.  The difference this time was we had a pretty good idea what was causing the infection.

Four days after finishing his antibiotic the infection returned, suddenly, without warning.  A call to the Doctor and he's back on the antibiotic.  The good news was no hospitalization necessary.  Hubby's road to recovery will be a slow journey but we'll handle it together. 

The glass is refilling, thank God, and I truly mean that.  No matter how empty the glass may seem to be, He's there waiting to refill it for you.  You just have to remember to ask Him.

I've read that "blogs" aren't supposed to be long and wordy.  Now, I don't think of myself as a "blogger", I'm more of a story teller, so I'd like to continue my story and share my May's "full glass" moments with you.

In our family May is always a busy month with school concerts, Mother's Day, birthdays (including my own), wedding anniversaries and this year even a bridal "sprinkle".

I had never heard of a "sprinkle" before but evidently it's just a smaller bridal shower not so much for gifts but to just get together and celebrate with the bride-to-be, Sister #2's daughter.  The "sprinkle" was very enjoyable and in the spirit of the event I filled the envelope my card was in with candy sprinkles, lots of sprinkles.  I do have my creative moments.

Trying to squeeze in our monthly sister meeting proved challenging but I decided to break with the Saturday tradition and go with early Sunday morning on the 20th of May.

Since I was making the old girls (don't tell them I said that) get up early I thought I'd make them breakfast.  Sausage gravy and biscuits is one sister's favorite so I made sure to have that to entice her.  When I told her the date and time she wasn't too thrilled because Sunday starts her work week but the sausage gravy changed her mind.

I found two new recipes I wanted to try, on Pinterest of course.  One was a recipe for hashbrown casserole and a cinnamon bun cake.  Certainly I could have made cinamon buns from scratch but the cake was so much easier.  Both recipes are keepers.

Everyone arrived bright and early and I had everything ready and waiting for them.  I did have a slight problem with my biscuits though.

"They look like cookies" Sister #4 quickly pointed out. 

"Yeah, I know.  Just slap some sausage gravy on them and you'll never know they're not light and fluffy" I told her.

Conversation flowed and as usual we were able to solve all the world's problems that Sunday morning over coffee.

We talked about aging and I mentioned how I thought as you got older things started shrinking.  You know, shorter and smaller.  I have seen a lot of skinny old ladies afterall.  Before I knew it we were all checking to make sure our boobs were still larger than our bellies.  Some were and some weren't and that's all I'm saying on that subject.

For me, music is just background noise but a while ago I came across a song that really makes me happy so I played it for them.  As the song was playing I started swaying to the music while sitting at the table.  They weren't crazy about my song but they loved the opportunity to laugh at me "getting my groove on" as Sister #4 pointed out.

Then I made a mistake.

I told them how I'll put that song on as I'm cleaning (alone of course) and I just start dancing; shoulders going one way and hips going another.  In my mind a moving vision of grace and rhythm.  Of course that was all the opening they needed and like sharks that smell blood in the water they went after me.  Comments included words like old hips, bouncing, earthquakes, shaking walls, the usual sister snarky comments.

That's okay, it's what sisters who love each other do.  Keep things real for you but with humor.

Before I end my story about the month of May I'd like to share my "glass over flowing" moment.

Hubby was in the hospital for the second time and daughter-in-law #2 stopped in one evening for a visit with her youngest, our soon to be 4 year-old grandson.

Mom and I were talking when she noticed the little guy standing in the kitchen doorway facing her with his tongue out.

"Stop sticking your tongue out at me" she told him but his tongue stayed out.

"Why are you doing that" she asked him.

"I got a booger on my tongue" he told her.

"Let me see" she said.   I remember thinking it was probably just a hair on his tongue.

He walked over to his Mom, tongue hanging out.

"Eeeww, gross, there's a booger on your tongue". 

Grandson just giggled and Mom cracked up laughing as she wiped the booger off his tongue.

Neither of us asked him how the booger got on his tongue.

 

Ann

I haven't written much about our monthly sister meetings since Sister #3, Andrea, died unexpectedly May, 2016.  We have continued to get together each month since her passing but it hasn't been the same until recently.

I came up with the brilliant idea of getting together monthly with my five sisters and so I hosted our first sister meeting October, 1997.  The idea was simple.  Starting with the eldest each month we'd take turns hosting.  Each sister picked her date and planned how she wanted to do things.  Full course meals or simple snacks, totally up to the hostess.  No pressure about attending, if you could you did and if not we'd see you the next month.

We've been doing this every month for twenty plus years.

Andrea's death affected us all deeply and changed the tone of our monthly sister meetings and also how we treat each other.  

Before Andrea died our meetings were full of laughter, teasing, sarcasam, arguing and sometimes anger.  No one censored anything that was said and believe me, plenty was said through out the years.  We'd play card and dice games, for money of course, and since some of my sisters are very competetive, it could get down right nasty, especially when losing.  It was fun, even when there was an argument because sometimes the sharp, angry words would end in laughter.  No matter what, though, we never stayed angry with each other.

After Andrea died, our monthly sister meetings were very subdued.  Sometimes I got the feeling we were walking on egg shells and tip- toeing around the fact that our lives had changed drastically.  Our sister was dead. 

That first year or so after Andrea's death we were together at our sister meetings but we weren't really there.  I can't explain the difference, except to say it was lonely, it was sad, it was painful, it was just horribly different.  We were each dealing with her death in our own way, quietly, personally, but not really sharing how we felt with each other.  We were just going through the motions, grieving separately, not together.  There was no teasing, no arguing, no games, no real life to our sister meetings.  We had even discussed stopping our sister meetings because her absence was just so damn hard to accept. 

I think we were afraid to be as we used to be with each other because we didn't want to do or say anything to hurt or offend someone.....just in case.   

I'm glad we kept going.

Sister #2 hosted our December, 2017 sister meeting.  She planned a small dinner and invited our spouses.  While the men were gathered in the kitchen, we held our sister meeting in the living room.  As in the past,  we exchanged small Christmas gifts but what made this sister meeting special was that sister #4 participated without any prompting or chastising about her "humbug" attitude.  She's not much on holidays and all the hoopla but she planned for this one.  Sitting around the Christmas tree we talked and opened our gifts to each other. 

Sister #4's gift to each of us was a necklace.  A small silver heart that held some of Andrea's ashes and an angel wing.    Finally, more than a year and a half later, we cried together, as sisters, acknowledging what we had lost, seeing what we still had, and accepting that it was going to be okay.      

January, 2018 was sister #4's month but she decided to cancel because, as she said, "she wasn't up for it".  December didn't bring a miracle healing, there were and still are good and bad days.  We all understood but we also knew she was hurting and needed our support.

Sister #5 contacted everyone and said she was bringing donuts, meet at Sister #4's home for coffee early on a Saturday morning.  Given Sister #4's temperment, however, there was some trepidation as to how she'd react.  Sister #5 and I discussed it and we both agreed there was a real possibility she'd be ticked off and tell us "nice to see you, there's the door"  but what's life without taking a chance now and then.    

I arrived last and perhaps that was a subconscious thing on my part.  If my sisters cars were parked in the driveway I knew our unannounced appearance was well received.  It wasn't until I showed up last, though, that she caught on to what was happening and that said so much about my sister's state of mind.  You can't easily get anything by Sister #4 but we did that day.

What was really nice about that sister meeting was that we were able to speak of Andrea.   About her, her life, the sometimes stupid but funny stuff she used to do or say.  

Sister #5 hosted our February, 2018 sister meeting.  What struck me about that get together is that it was more like our usual sister meetings.  There was teasing, laughter, and even some display of temper and arguing over a game we played.  It was a card game, I think called "cards against the world".  It was the most obnoxious, rude, insulting game I've ever played and I never laughed so much in my life.  It was a good sister meeting.

Sister #6 held our March, 2018 sister meeting.  At Christmas she had given everyone an Appleby's gift card so we all met there for lunch then went to her home for desert.  Again, it was more like our old sister meetings.  

Which brings me to our sister meeting held on April 28th.  We played a card game, for money, and Sister #2 actually got snarky with Sister #5 who won both pots of money.  Sister #2 won't admit it but she hates to lose. 

There was a very loud silence after Sister #2 asked Sister #4 to do something for her and Sister #4 declined.  We all knew Sister #2 was angry about the response she received. Her red face said it all.  No one said anything, though, as we all just sat there waiting for the angry words we could clearly see she was thinking.  She remained quiet and held them in.  As I'm writing this I can't help but think maybe it would have been better if the angry words were spoken.  They probably would have been doosies and we all know Sister #4 can give better than she gets.

Obviously, we're not quite back to normal yet but I can see light at the end of the tunnel; we're getting there.  I'm beginning to think a nice argument might be good for us.  No more egg shells and tip-toeing around each other.  I'll have to see what I can do if the opportunity presents itself at our next sister meeting.

Wish me luck.

 

 

 

Ann

Everyone has flaws.  One of mine is that I have always held on to the past and worried about the future and what could happen.  A smart person would understand that when you do that you miss out on what's important. 

Today.

I'm a smart person but I've been a slow learner.  Since retiring I have been working on that little flaw in my personality.  It's taking some work because, as people who know me can confirm, I can be very stubborn.  On the plus side, once I make up my mind to do something I do it.

So I've made up my mind to focus on today, the here and now.  

To recognize the daily blessings that are sometimes missed because of holding on to the past or worry about tomorrow.

This may sound kind of corny to some, but when I woke Easter morning my first thought was "This is the day the Lord has made, be happy and rejoice".  

I said a "thank you" for the simple fact that I woke to a new day, grateful for the ability to experience whatever the day may bring.  I enjoyed the simple pleasure of morning coffee with my husband as we watched the news and chatted about this and that.  

As I began preparations for Easter dinner I ignored aching joints, realizing that despite those aches and pains, I was still able to move about.  Arthritis is a bitch but it could be worse.  A couple of Advil and it was on to the next task. 

I consciously felt the pleasure of making preparations to celebrate with my family.  Anticipating their arrival and the chaos that comes with a home full of people who care about each other.  A blessing that some don't experience.

Our eldest son and his family were the first to stop in for a visit before traveling to join our daughter-in-law's family for Easter dinner.  They brought me a beautiful Easter lily, an Easter bread and ricotta pie.  Years ago I had tried making this pie without success.  Thankfully, my eldest daughter-in-law makes a delicious ricotta pie.  In turn I surprised them with candy that I made for my adult kids and Easter bags I put together for the grandchildren with their $2.00 bill.  Years ago my mother started the tradition of giving her grandchildren a $2.00 bill at Easter and I have continued that tradition with my grandchildren.   I also surprised my daughter-in-law with two containers of pipi salad, something my own mother-in-law used to make.  Her pleased smile made me happy and I enjoyed that moment.

My eldest grandson was my taste tester for the mashed potatoes since I've been unable to taste much due to a slight medical issue.  He gave me the thumbs up and asked that I save him any leftovers.  I happened to have one of his Mom's empty containers so I filled it with mashed potatoes and handed it to him.  That got me another big smile.  Something so simple but it lightened my heart and I count that as a blessing.

Our middle and youngest sons and their families joined us for dinner.  It's easier to set up buffet style so everyone can help themselves, including the grandkids.  No pressures about what you eat or don't eat.  Being able to share that meal together is another blessing I'm grateful for.  I love to hear the sounds of their voices as converations flow.  I enjoy listening to them as they tease each other and the resulting laughter.  The weather co-operated and the kids were able to play outside and enjoy their own time together.

Later, after everyone had gone home, I spent time cleaning the kitchen and getting dishes done.  As strange as it may sound, washing dishes relaxes me.  As I stood at the sink I thought about the day and all it's little pleasures and blessings.   

I remembered watching our youngest grandson eating cabbage salad.  No biggie you'd think but it reminded me of last Christmas and how he ended up taking the bowl off the kitchen counter, climbing into a chair in the living room and eating the cabbage salad directly from the bowl.   I watched him eat his Easter dinner and saw how he dipped his dinner roll and ham into the cabbage salad realizing he thought it was a dip.  It's a vegetable but I'm not tellin him.

I remembered the look on my granddaughter's face as I handed her her "Easter toast" as one of my grandsons called it.  She thinks Mammy makes the best toast. 

I smiled as I remembered grandson #3 asking me if a lamp emits light or sucks dark which I learned later had something to do with a meme.   His Dad took exception to what he was saying and asked him if he wanted to do laps around the back field.  I calmly advised my son that since my grandson was talking to me he could say or ask what ever he wanted; it was our conversation.  Dad just smiled at his sons' teasing comments about Dad's Mom getting after him.   

While washing a roasting pan I found my self chuckling as I remembered a moment with grandson #5.  His Mom had made a cake for dessert and it wasn't until after the cake was served that I remembered I had made a cherry cheese pie.  My youngest son doesn't care for cake so I always make this pie for holiday meals.  As I was cutting the pie grandson #5, who loves cheese cake, was standing next to me.  

"Would you like a piece" I asked him. 

"I've already had a piece of cake and my Dad would say no" he answered while looking at the pie.

"I didn't ask what your Dad would say, I asked what you wanted".  The look on his face said he wanted a piece of pie so I cut a small piece for him. 

"Come into the living room" I said after handing him his pie, "I'll take care of your Dad".  He wasn't taking any chances, however, and ate his pie standing at the kitchen counter.   Sorry Dad, Grandma's house, Grandma's rules.

I've come to realize how freeing it is to be able to enjoy the here and now.  To not dwell on the past or worry about what tomorrow may bring.  It's like a weight has been lifted that you weren't aware you were carrying.  Certainly there are times when I slip into old habits and my mind starts to wander into the "what if" territory of tomorrow or the regrets and sorrow of the past.  I won't let myself go there anymore because I've felt the simple enjoyment of today and I like it.  I've talked with Hubby about this and he's offered me a free kick in the ass whenever necessary.   

It's easy to find your blessings each and every day when you take the time to look for them. 

I'm eagerly looking for mine, are you?

 

 

All rights reserved.  I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it's my story so no using or copying any content in any manner without the express written permission of the owner....me.

 

Ann

A Stitch In Time

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I started this piece of embroidery early August, 1973.  At that time I was a young 19-year-old bride of 7 months living in Iceland with my husband who was stationed at the Naval Base at Grindavek.  We did not qualify for base housing so we lived in an apartment in Keflavik.  I absolutely loved the whole experience and totally embraced the new adventure of living in a different country.  Our apartment was modest but the view from our living room window was priceless; the Atlantic Ocean in all it’s glory and I remember thinking I’d never take that view for granted or forget.  I shopped at the local stores, including going to the fish market every day for the catch of the day.  Our mail came through the military base but I’d stop at the local Post Office just to visit with any one who was there at the time.  Conversation was never a problem once it was apparent I was an American; they were as fascinated about Americans as I was about them.  Our neighbors were wonderful, friendly people who always welcomed us into their homes with such hospitality and graciousness. Icelandic was not easy to speak but I did my best and was never made to feel foolish when I inevitably butchered their language.  I’d receive smiles from the shop keepers or the person I was speaking with and then they would help with the words and phrasing.  Since the winter nights were so long in Iceland you would have many different hobbies to help keep you busy.  A neighbor introduced me to the art of embroidery and instead of starting out with something simple as she suggested I picked this ambitious piece.   It was so large that I had to use a standing frame to hold the piece.  She told me that as I worked my tapestry the back should be as neat as the front so I began working slowly and carefully.

When it was time to return to the States I only had a small portion done but I wasn’t worried, I was young and had plenty of time to get it finished.    Time, however, had other ideas and before I knew it 5 years had gone by and I hadn’t touched my tapestry.  I remember setting up my frame and working on the tapestry, watching my toddlers play as I carefully stitched away.  I’d set it aside then return to work on it every so often.  Life happens, you get busy, and before I knew it more years passed by so quickly.  It was not finished when my Dad died in 1982 at the age of 47.  At that time I had just about completed the left half of the tapestry to the lady’s shoulders.  I no longer had the heart to work on my tapestry so I packed everything up and put it away in the attic.

More years passed so quickly and before I knew it our sons had graduated High School and eventually left home to start their own lives.    Sometime during the mid 1990’s I was going through photo albums and came across pictures of our time in Iceland.  Seeing those photos reminded me of my tapestry packed away in the attic all those years ago.  I found it, set up my frame, and again began working on my tapestry.  Watching my needle go in and out, filling each space with colored yarn, I gradually realized that when I was working on my tapestry I didn’t think about anything else.  Concentrating on each stitch relaxed my mind.  I worked slowly, trying to complete my stitches so that the back of the tapestry was as neat as the front, just as my friend from so long ago advised.  I changed jobs during this time period so again work on my tapestry was haphazard at best but I kept it close at hand.  Again the years flew by and before I knew it, we had celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.   Our sons married giving us daughters and within a couple of years we were blessed with the arrival of our grandchildren.  There were parties, holidays, celebrations and sometimes painful goodbyes to more loved ones.   Health scares, happy times, harsh words, not so happy times, tears and laughter.  So much simple day-to-day life happened as I worked on my tapestry every now and then, stitch by stitch.

By April, 2010, my tapestry was almost finished except for several rows in the upper right hand corner.   Mom died April 14th that year,  and though I still can’t explain why, this urgency came over me to finish my tapestry.  I quickly realized I didn’t have enough of the colored yarn for that section of my tapestry so off to Michaels I went, sample in hand, to try to match the color.  I wasn’t able to match it exactly but I did find a color that was close enough.  To this day, when I look at my tapestry I can see the color difference in that section and I am always reminded of Mom.  When I told my husband it was done and showed him the completed piece he praised my work.  While the back wasn’t as neat as my long ago Icelandic friend said it should be, he made me feel as if I were Monet and had completed a masterpiece.  He told me we had to have it properly framed and that’s what he did.  We took it to a professional framer and I remember how excited the gentleman was to work with such a large piece of embroidery.  “You don’t see pieces like this very often these days” he said and recommended  the use of conservator glass to protect the colors of my  tapestry from fading due to sunlight.  It took time to pick out the wooden frame and the colors of the matte finish to compliment the colors in my embroidery.  I don’t know why, but I remember shedding some tears on the drive home the day we picked up the finished piece from the framer’s shop.

Seven years later my tapestry hangs on our bedroom wall and as I look at it I realize that each stitch, from start to finish, represents 37 years of my life.  I’m reminded of our time in Iceland, the early years of our marriage, the births of our children and their growing years.  I look at different parts of my tapestry and I’m able to remember certain events in my life both happy and sorrowful.  Until I started this story, however, I also realize that I never really saw the beauty of the piece as my husband did.  What I saw was failure because it took so many years to complete something that I had started so very long ago. Not any more.

My tapestry represents a life….mine.  I am as much a part of that tapestry as the colored yarn that makes up the picture because looking at it now, I remember my desire to create something beautiful when I selected this very ambitious piece all those years ago. Viewing it with different eyes, I also see that it contains my hopes and dreams through all those long years.  There is heartache, joy and life in my tapestry.  Different parts of the picture hold the tears I sometimes cried while working, soaking into the yarn and becoming a permanent part of my tapestry.  My tapestry has absorbed all the love shared during those 37 years, and I now see, as my husband always did, something of beauty, something that holds a part of me in each and every stitch.  I accomplished my desire of long ago to create something beautiful and despite time I did it…..one stitch at a time.

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