"I'm Giddy," she said.
"What?" I said.
"My brain is floating."
"Are you dizzy?" I asked, concerned. We were in Denver, Pennsylvania, in Sauder's Fabrics, the first of fifteen shops and homes we were to visit the next three days. It was our first morning driving the country roads around Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in her quest to see five million quilts. We had just entered into a world of quilt fabrics, fabric she had promised on the plane she would only look at and never buy. Hah!
"I feel wonderful," she said as her words trailed behind her. She was already in the wonderland of fabric, bolts and bolts of fabric.
I caught up with her. "So is your head all right now?" I asked as she wrapped her arms around a bolt of fabric. I wasn't really sure.
"I'm in love," she said.
"I hope so," I replied. We were soon coming up on our thirty-ninth anniversary. I hoped she was referring to me.
""I'm so giddy," she said again as she unfurled a yard of green fabric. "Grass," she said.
I looked around for a phone. I wondered if ambulances came this far out into the Pennsylvania countryside. "Where does it hurt?" I said as I prepared to catch her if she fainted.
"This is perfect for the grass on the quilt I want to make," she said.
I looked at the fabric she was caressing. It did, indeed, look like grass. "Then you're not ill?" I asked just to be sure.
"It's Eden," she said.
"What?" She handed me the bold of green.
"Three yards," she said, pointing me toward the cutting table at the front of the shop."
"But, you said...." She didn't hear me. She squealed as she went toward another bolt. This one was sky blue.
"All the fabric I've been looking for," she said.
Now, I was puzzled. We had visited dozen and dozens of quilt shops in the past year, and we both had decided she had seen every fabric known. Adding her access to the Internet's quilt sites, I believed she had seen it all. Wrong.
"Now I understand," she said as she moved down the aisle touching bolt after bolt, her eyes ablaze, glazed. "I'm in Candyland," she said. "I've heard people talk about the feeling they get when they walk into a room of fabric like this," she explained.
Now this is one woman who does not normally allow her emotions to overwhelm her. But here she was, babbling in a warehouse-sized room of fabric just yards from a field where sheep grazed. She handed me another bolt of fabric, just the brick pattern she needed for a house appliqué.
"Three yards," she said.
And so it went. And went. And went. "Giddy" wasn't a strong enough word for the lightness of her head. She was floating above the atmosphere, oxygen deprived. I ran back and forth to the counter to have the fabric cut, each piece piled on another. Then, as I faced exhaustion, she was done. "I'm done here," she said.
That was the beginning. By the end of the first day we had visited three Amish homes and four quilt shops. The rented car would likely be stopped for inspection the way it bulged.
The next day it continued. We visited the People's Place Quilt museum in the town of Intercourse. "I feel giddy, oh so giddy," she sang to the tune of "I Feel Pretty" as she wandered among Amish and Mennonite quilts. She stopped. She stared. She sighed. She went on. "I'm going to need more fabric," she said.
"We'll have to pay for the extra weight on the plane," I said, hoping to dissuade her.
"It's all so inspiring," she said.
"I'm perspiring," I said as I realized we still had two days to go.
"I'm going Amish," she said.
"You already did Amish," I said. She had already made me a lovely queen-sized quilt.
"Do you see these," she chided. "There are a lot of different types of quilts here," she said.
"That's a lot of quilting to do," I said. I had to get her back to reality.
"I'll make small ones. Paper-pieces Amish-style quilts. Lots and lots of them," she said.
"And all the fabric you bought for the other quilts you plan to make?"
"They can wait. Amish first. All solids. Mennonite quilts have prints in them." She was looking at the brochure she had picked up at the entrance of the museum.
"Can we go now?" I asked. It had been two hours and three trips around the museum. I was getting hungry again. I just wondered if we would have money for food after moving downstairs to the fabric section.
"I want to stop in the fabric section downstairs," she said.
"After lunch," I said.
We ate in a small lunchroom down the street. Afterwards, as we were walking down the street, I turned to her to comment on the number of Amish people in the restaurant, but she was not walking next to me. I turned and saw her entering another quilt shop, the next one on our list. I ran after her. Too late. She had found another Paradise.
I found her looking at John Deere fabric. "We don't live on a farm," I said.
"I'm just looking," she said. "I don't have to buy everything," she said.
"No, of course you don't." But she had to buy almost everything.
"I feel...." she began.
"Giddy," I finished.
"So inspired," she corrected."
"Fabric inspires you. Quilts inspire you. The sky and the sun and the moon inspire you. When it comes to quilts, mud and garbage and mold and manure inspire you, too," I said.
"When we get home I'm going to show you," she said. If we ever got home.
On the way home, the pilot of the plane said we were encountering turbulence as the plane bumped along its flight pattern now and then, but I knew it wasn't air currents that caused everyone to stay strapped in by their seat belts. It was the extra weight the plane carried. It was fabric. It was my wife's head, heavy with inspiration. And me, I was just giddy to be going home.
Click here to see little Amish Quilt
Copyright 1999 by A.B. Silver
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