Bright and Cheery




It wasn't a war. It wasn't even a battle. But certainly it was an argument. There were four of them all talking at once, all animated, gesticulating wildly, each holding a bolt of fabric in her hand. Darling Wife and I had wandered into the section of JoAnn's where the fabrics shouted cute and cuddly and adorable and charming. Baby patterns. Bears and rabbits and toys and alphabets and balls and stars. The four women were discussing the eyesight and brains and emotional needs of infants in their cribs.

"Shapes," said one emphatically. Her bolt had designs of squares and blocks and circles and balls.

"That would make any baby dizzy," said the second. "Animals in the forest,' she said. She clutched a bolt of "woodsy" fabric close to her chest. Tiny critters roamed an enchanted forest.

"They're too young to know what a wild animal is," said the third. "All they see is color." She had already bought her fabric and held six folded fat quarters in her hands, the pastel fabric fanned out in front of her.

"Nonsense," said the fourth, her bold voice quieting the others. "Babies need bright bold colors. They're eyes aren't developed enough to see wishy-washy pastels." She directed a frown at the pastels, which seemed to withdraw into the third woman's hands.

They argued babies and fabric and design and finally got around to the final arguments.

"A baby quilt needs to be interesting," said the first.

"A baby quilt needs to be involved with nature," said the second.

"A baby quilt needs to be soft and quiet and full of rainbows," said the third.

"A baby quilt needs to be bold," said the fourth.

"A baby quilt needs to be pretty," said my Darling Wife, joining in.

The four women turned to this interloper and stared a moment at the diminutive gray-haired woman who had dared interrupt. "So, Stranger, you decide for us," the first woman said. She pushed her fabric in front of DW's face. The others followed suit. All pushed their fabric forward. Each one had a smug smile, sure of victory, sure this outsider would agree with her.

"I've never made a baby quilt," Darling Wife said.

"But if you were making one," said the second woman with her menagerie of woodsy creatures showing.

"I'd make one that was cute and soft and lovable," I piped in. After all, we once had babies. We have grandchildren. "Babies sleep a lot," I said. I don't think they look at the quilt much of the time." I got some very strange looks. "And they need a quilt that's strong and long lasting, too," I added.

They paid me no attention.

"Boys need trucks and cars and all kinds of sports designs," said a fifth woman, butting in. "And girls need pictures of stoves and refrigerators and Barbie Dolls."

"We're talking baby quilts here," said the fourth woman, giving out a glare that blinded the newcomer.

"I say we let the babies decide," said the rainbow woman.

"Make one of each kind," I said. Hey, peacemakers are necessary, even in the quilting world.

They paid me no attention.

I have six children, and each one had a quilt with animals," said the woman from Wild Kingdom with some finality. She took her fabric and bolted the group.

"So you will agree that babies need clouds and blue sky and rainbows," said the woman with the multicolored fabrics.

"I'm sure your quilt will be very pretty," said my diplomatic wife.

"Hah" said the woman in victory.

"On the other hand, I think babies like bold colors and exciting designs," DW added for the others.

"Yes!" exclaimed the fourth.

"Still, animals are cute," said my Darling Wife.

"That woman's already gone," I reminded her.

"What about cars and steam engines and rocket ships," said the newbie.

"Our granddaughters liked them," I said. (They also liked bunnies and bears and soft colors and bright colors and just about everything under the sun. So did our grandsons.)

They paid me no attention.

"I've never made a baby quilt," my Darling Wife said again.

"But if you were....?"

"Yes, if you were....?"

"How about it?"

"Bright and cheery," she said. "Very bright and cheery."

They all mulled it over, their faces showing deep thought. And while they were thinking it over, my Darling Wife took my hand and led me quickly away.

"So what do you think about all that?" I asked her as we fled to safety.

"I think it's time to make a baby quilt."

"What kind?" I asked. "Animals, skyscrapers, soft pastels, sports, abstract designs, solid colors, prints, sailboats, earth, wind, fire, water?"

"Maybe some sailboats are good," she said.

"That's it?" I asked. "Just sailboats?"

"Maybe some bears."

"Anything else?"

"Lots of colors," she said.

"What kind of colors?"

"Bright and cheery," she said.

And so she set out to make her first baby quilt, very bright and very cheery all the way.

Click here to see Bright Baby Quilt

Copyright 1998 by A.B. Silver

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