When a tragedy occurs in HER quilting world, in a dimension quite unknown to most of the public, and whether that tragedy is real or imagined, I hear about it. I hear about it in the morning. I hear about it in the evening. I hear about it every minute of the day and night.
"It's a good quilt," I said.
"It was a good quilt," she said.
"It wasn't your fault," I said.
"It's puckered," she said.
"Just a little," I said.
"A little is a lot," she said.
"It's on the bottom," I said.
"I know where it is," she said.
"You can't see it on the bottom," I said.
"I can see it in my mind," she said.
"Don't think about it," I said, without effect.
"Hah!," she said, telling me she would think about it for all eternity.
IT was the newly finished queen-sized Friendship Star quilt she had just completed in time for Valentine's Day, the forty year anniversary of the day we started going together. And now on this romantic day, for the lack of a fourth banquet table to stretch the quilt sandwich on so she could tape it down tightly, there was an unromantic pucker in the backing. It was a small pucker. It was a tiny crease. It was a microscopic wrinkle.
"It's not so bad," I said, trying one more time to soothe my Darling Wife in this time of her crisis.
"Why do bad things happen to good quilts?" she asked.
"Why indeed?" I asked. If she would not settle down and understand that in quilting, as in every part of life, the unexpected should be expected, then I would have to remain at her side to offer solace. After all, I am a compassionate person. To be married to a devoted quilter, one has to be.
"It's like having a building collapse just as the last brick is put in place," she said.
"It's not a building, and nothing's collapsed," I tried, but she was having none of it.
"I worked a long time on that quilt," she said.
"And it will last five hundred years," I said.
"Five hundred years with a pucker," she said.
"No one will notice," I said. "No one we know will come into the bedroom and lift the bottom of the quilt and look underneath to see if there's a pucker," I said.
"You can't be sure of that," she said.
"I'll stand guard. Even the best of the quilt inspectors whose whole life is devoted to finding puckers won't find it."
"But it'll still be there."
"It will be the one crease, fold, crimp, crinkle, gather, pleat, plication, or wrinkle that will not be seen, not ever," I said. "I promise you."
"Plication? Does my quilt have a plication? What's a plication?"
"It's a line or pucker made by doubling one part over another," I said.
"My good quilt has a plication," she wailed.
"No one will know," I said.
"It's only a little pucker," she said.
"That's all it is, I comforted. You didn't corrugate, crease, crimp, crinkle, crumple, crush, furrow, gather, knot, purse, ruck, ruffle, rumple, or scrunch up the quilt," I said.
"What are you talking about?" she asked.
"I'm talking about what a great quilt you made, how good it looks on the bed, how proud I am of you, and how warm it will be on these cold winter nights.
"It could have been better," she said. "It was just too big. I'm never making another large quilt unless I have fifteen banquet tables to stretch the whole quilt out on in seventeen directions."
"Our living room doesn't have room for four tables, let alone fifteen," I said. I left the number of directions alone. We live in the northeast part of our town, and that's already one more direction than the four any sensible person needs to remember. Quilters know many more directions, but they're quilters and they have to know all about different angles and curves. Ugh.
"I know the room is too small. That's why it's only going to be twin size quilt or lap quilts or wall hangings or miniatures from now on."
"Without puckers?" I asked.
"A tiny pucker's all right," she accepted as a compromise.
"So what happened to your good quilt isn't that bad?" I dared to ask. Maybe she was in the recovery stage.
"I still love my quilt," she said. "Love means understanding and overlooking small imperfections, even puckers. We must love with all our hearts."
"Then this is also a Valentine's Day for quilts?" I asked. Why not?
"Every day," she said. "It's a good quilt, and when something bad thing happens, we should love it all the more."
"Sounds good," I said.
"But don't let anyone look at the bottom of the quilt," she said.
"Not in my lifetime," I said.
Copyright 1999 by A.B. Silver
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