"I'm worried about winter," she said.
"It's June," I said. "Why are you worried about winter?" It was a simple question. With the temperature hitting a hundred degrees yesterday, I wasn't worried about winter.
"My tea might get cold," she said.
"Well, I guess that explains it," I said. It didn't, not yet, but I knew her answer would eventually lead to something that had to do with quilts. I didn't quite know yet how she was going to get there. But I knew she could turn anything that happened at any time into a reason to talk about quilts. Last week I had a flat tire and she wondered why tire companies didn't make quilted tires.
"They'd be cute on the highway," she had said.
I did think about quilted tires for awhile, but not for long enough for anyone to know I was wandering into her territory, a landscape so mysterious that the inexperienced might enter and never be seen again. My Darling Wife was a quilter. All else was commentary.
"You have a microwave," I said, bringing us back to the present. You can reheat the tea if it gets cold." I didn't expect that even with winter the inside of the house would be so cold as to cause her tea any danger.
"The new teapot has metal trim. I can't just put it into the microwave."
We had brought one more teapot back from London. She loved tea and she loved teapots. As I was a coffee lover and had brought back a cup from England that said, "His Lordship," I didn't complain about yet one more teapot. "So what about winter?" I asked.
"I was thinking that the teapots need to be comfortable and warm and cozy."
"A tea cozy," she said. "I should make one."
"Ah!" I said, finally understanding. When we were in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and when we were in England, and when we were in most quilting stores, she had picked up small quilt cozies and said, "I can make one like this." Now the chickens were coming home to roost. (I've been waiting to throw that phrase in somewhere, and this is as good a place as any.)
"A cozy to keep the teapots warm?" I guessed. I am one good guesser.
"To keep the tea inside the teapot warm," she corrected.
"And you're going to make one before winter comes in and glaciers flow into our California neighborhood?" It had gotten down to 18 degrees last winter, the coldest day in many, many years. But, in reality, it rarely got below freezing, and even when it did, our kitchen was always warm.
"You never know," she said.
And that should have been that, I thought. Making little quilts for little teapots wasn't exactly my cup of tea, but it shouldn't have been any more concern to me than if she said she was going to make a paper-pieced wall hanging. Little did I think how many teapots she had, nor did I think to realize she would want every pot to have its own little cozy. And so began her cozy campaign.
And after she had made cozies for every teapot she had, then that should have been the end of it, I thought. Wrong again. When I went to get my coffee this morning, the coffee pot was quilted. That is, a cozy covered it. All right, so she strayed a bit. I could live with a cozy over my coffee pot, But then when I went to make the toast, the toaster was quilted. That made me do a double take and make sure I was seeing what I was seeing. "Why is there a quilt on my coffee pot?" I asked, and that was before I saw there was a quilt on the coffee maker also.
"I thought you'd like to have one," she said.
"My coffee is hot enough," I said.
"Don't you like it? It's a log cabin design."
"It looks fine," I said, wondering why I was concerned about one small kitchen quilt, but it might have been that looking beyond the coffee pot I saw the blender shrouded by another cozy. "Why is the blender covered?" I asked. Dumb question.
"I didn't want it to get jealous of the other appliances," she said smartly.
"Appliances?" I asked. Uh-oh! I quickly looked around the counter. The food processor, the utensil holder with its spatulas and tongs and wooden spoons, the can opener, all were quite cozy on the counter.
"I'm going to lie down," I said. I needed time to take it all in.
"I'll make your coffee," she said, and in my confusion I nodded agreement.
I never made it to the bedroom. Going into the bathroom, my eyes still full of visions of quilt cozies jamming up my optic nerve, I had a hallucination. I thought I saw a teapot on top of the toilet tank. I blinked and looked again. I did see a quilted cozy, decorated with little red and blue and yellow sailboats. I reached for it. I touched it. I lifted the quilted cozy to see why there was a teapot in the bathroom. But there was no teapot. Under the cozy there was the spare roll of toilet paper. Yow!
Eventually, I recovered. I thought of the benefits of warm toilet paper if a winter blizzard ever froze our home into some ice age. Then I thought of all the cozies she had made. Of course all that thinking made me dizzy for awhile, but then it all began to make sense to me. I understood. Quilts were good. Therefore, quilt cozies were good. Maybe before winter came she would even make a cozy large enough for me. I began to think about what design I wanted. Maybe one with paper-pieced teacups. Or maybe a Stack-n-Whack design. Maybe a farmyard scene. Maybe.
But she didn't make any more cozies. Long after dinner, as the last light of day was fading, I asked her why? She looked at me as if I had had one cup of coffee too many. "I have to make the new wall hanging," she said. "Then I have to do another miniature. After that...."
"So you're ready for winter?" I interrupted.
"Winter? What are you talking about. Who thinks about winter in late June?" She paused. "Maybe I should make a Fourth of July quilt. What do you think?"
"I think it's time for us to go to bed and get cozy," I said.
Copyright 1999 by A.B. Silver
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