Now that Thanksgiving is over and my houseguests are gone, I have reflected on my last post and decided it was a bit strident for the holidays. (Oh, I still believe what I wrote, but maybe I can soft-pedal the grouchiness a little!) I decided to think about gratitude, in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Where does someone begin to list things they are grateful for? The obvious answers, of course - health, happiness, family. But let's get more specific and a little bit more personal.
I'm grateful for my grandmother who pieced quilt tops, even though she wasn't all that domestic by nature. And grateful that those tops were quilted by a good country woman named Mrs. Abshire, so that I could spend my childhood snuggled under them - especially my favorite, a red and white turkey tracks design.
I'm grateful for my mother who taught me to sew. This skill helped me make all my clothes in high school (and spend one of the most boring semesters in my life in home economics class, watching other freshman girls struggling over the construction of the simplest shift dress in history) and for many years after. Sewing has been a life skill, a hobby, a comfort, a creative outlet, a money-saver. It gives my nervous hands something to do. It has decorated my home and warmed my bed. I don't feel right unless I have a quilt top at some stage of construction.
I'm grateful for a husband who doesn't begrudge the money I spend on my hobby and appreciates and compliments my creations, who overlooks the threads that sometimes festoon the carpet when I'm on a sewing jag and finds the pins I drop on the kitchen floor before the cat does.
I'm grateful for all the cats who have paraded through my life, each distinctly different in personality and each giving me company and pleasure in his or her own way, even the ones who weren't the best pets in the world (an orange tabby named George comes to mind). You can learn a lot from a cat if you pay attention. If you earn their trust and affection, it's a big accomplishment. You can't bully or domineer a cat. You can't buy their love. A cat will never kowtow to you.
I'm grateful for all the tools the quilting industry has developed since I began this hobby. Rotary cutters, cutting mats and rulers that beat cardboard templates any day. Corrosion-proof basting safety pins for the times when a project gets sidelined, so you don't have to fight rust stains on your work when you return to the task. Easy-thread needles (now, there's a brilliant idea) for catching and hiding thread tails. I'm grateful for the vast array of fabrics available, almost any color or design you could want. And for quilt shops with their helpful, enthusiastic employees, usually quilters themselves, who will trudge the aisles to help you find just the right fabrics, even when you don't know what they are yourself.
I'm grateful, oh so grateful, for retirement so I can sew to my heart's delight, and for a retirement system at my former employer, so I could retire when I needed to and didn't have to work until I was decrepit. That's a big one nowadays. I watch with pain while people who never expected to be on the street lose their jobs (including my own niece, who is currently job-searching). I watch people try to live on Social Security and pitiful small pensions and give a prayer of thanks for my husband's and my circumstances.
I'm grateful for this house, even though I might grumble sometimes and would definitely like a dedicated sewing room. I understand what a good house it is, especially after I have company like last weekend, and have plenty of room for them - and multiple bathrooms to accommodate everyone in comfort! (That's a biggie - I grew up in a one bathroom house.) I'm especially grateful for my renovated kitchen, which serves me so well when I cook for company.
And I'm grateful for the blogging quilters of the world who let me have a peek into their creative and personal lives, who inspire, entertain and inform me. I want to wish them all a wonderful, happy, blessed holiday season.