A funny thing happened at the quilt show. The Cotton Patch Quilters Show was in the large auditorium on the Kern County Fairgrounds, and Darling Wife had been looking forward to it ever since attending the last one two years before.
"This is the building," I said as I followed the signs leading from the parking lot to the exhibit hall.
"Do you have the camera?" she asked.
"Yes, of course," I said. I did. It was in its case ready to go.
"I want a picture of every quilt," she said.
"There may be some I can't take photos of," I said. We had seen signs prohibiting photography at several quilt shows. At others there were individual quilts that posted signs not to take photos.
"You can take a picture of me standing next to the quilt you can't take a picture of," she suggested. I knew it was a suggestion and not a statement of fact as she was too honest to cheat at a quilt show. I hoped there were no signs prohibiting photography. Though I could not see how it would matter if we came away empty-handed again. She had more photos of quilts in her magazines and books than any wise person would know existed.
"That's cheating," I said.
"Some quilters cheat," she said. "If it's for a good cause," she added.
"You cheated on your very first attempt to quilt," I reminded her.
"That was a cheater quilt and it was an assignment in the quilting class." Actually, it was a small wall hanging with the design already printed, and all she had to do was quilt along the lines and practice different kinds of quilting techniques after she put it together with batting and a back. That was two years ago, and she still had it and she hated it.
"I'm counting on you," she said, and I followed her up to the door, paid the entrance fee, and we went in, following a parade of other quilters into the hall.
It was no more than thirty-three seconds after we entered the hall that she turned and whispered to me, "That one. I want a picture of that one."
"Don't you want to look at it first," I said. We were about thirty feet away from the first quilt.
"Are you going to be trouble?" she said to me.
"I'll take the picture," I said as I removed the camera from its case. It was a very small camera as I didn't want to get in the way of people viewing the quilts. It was bad enough the cameras stole the images of the quilt, capturing the spirit of each quilt on....something. I was going to say film, but we had a new digital camera, and the photos were captured by electronic magic. Still, I knew the Quilt God and Goddess in the sky would frown upon any malfeasance in the taking of the photos. I got close, snapped my picture, and hoped no one had been disturbed by the flash.
"Now that one," Darling Wife said as she heard the camera beep. She pointed to the next quilt in line.
"Are you going to want a picture of every quilt here?" I asked.
"No, just all of them," she said.
"No, just all of them?" I mimicked. "What does that mean?"
"I'll let you know," she said. "Shoot."
I shot the next quilt, wondering if it was all right to say "shoot' or "snap" or even "take" when using a digital camera. "I got it," I said.
"Get a white glove," she said as she examined the quilt of which I had just acquired a digital reproduction.
I knew what she meant. The last time we had been to this show, her very first, she was given a white glove at the entrance. She wondered and I wondered what the glove was for. Seeing the puzzled looks on our faces, a show hostess explained that the glove was to be worn if we wanted to turn the quilt to see the back. At that time I had no idea why anyone would want to look at the back of a quilt, but I have learned much about a quilter's need-to-know mind since then.
I went to the table where we had paid her fee and asked about the glove and was told they no longer gave them out to visitors but that a "white glove" would turn any quilt we wanted. "Just look for a white glove on the floor," she said.
"Got it," I said, thinking she meant a guide or docent, but still I scratched my head, looking at the floor for white gloves as I went back to my Darling Wife and the quilt. A woman wearing white gloves was there turning the quilt. Ah, yes, the "white glove."
"Take a photo," she said.
"You want a picture, photo, pic, snap, capture, or image?"
"Snap it," my director said. I pressed a button, the camera beeped, the flash went off, and I had a digital image of the back of the quilt, which was all white and had floral designs stitched in white thread.
"How many more do you want?" I asked. I had taken three somethings so far.
"Just keep moving," she said as she pushed me ahead to the next quilt.
"This one, too?" I asked at the next quilt.
"Click it!" she said.
An hour latter, I had stolen the images of 67 quilts. Two hours later, my camera possessed the spirits of all the quilts in the show, including the display quilts on the walls behind each vendor's booth.
"That's enough," Darling Wife said.
"That's enough? Enough? I took a zillion pictures," I said. That number included my taking pictures of other quilters taking pictures as the show became more crowded and I had to fight for space to take each picture. After being shoved, pummeled, and pushed back and forth, I was lucky to be alive.
"Good," she said.
"Very good," she said.
"That's better. Can we go home now?"
"No, I need to buy some fat quarters," she said.
An hour later we left. Twenty minutes after that we were at home. Ten minutes after that I was downloading the images from the camera into the computer. Two minutes after that she was sitting by my side at the computer.
"Let's look at all of them," she said.
"You just saw them all at the show," I said.
"I can't remember them all. That's why we brought the camera."
"And after you look at them all?" I asked.
"You can print them out and put them in a binder for my new inspiration book. Then we'll go to another quilt show and take some more. I can't wait."
I can. I didn't say that. But I can wait. In the meantime, I can take pictures of flowers and sunsets. If I have the time.
Copyright 2000 by A.B. Silver
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