"Pins," she said.
"How do you think the weather will be this winter?" I asked. I had heard her, but as she said the word "Pins" in the middle of our conversation about the doves that were frolicking on our front lawn, I had to say something equally puzzling back.
"Remind me tomorrow," she said.
"All right," I said.
"I suppose I'll have to buy a whole box," she said.
"At least that many," I said. "I wish it would rain."
"Maybe glass heads," she said.
"Not that I want a lot of rain," I said.
"They won't melt," she said.
"If it's hot enough, they will," I said.
"Do you know what I'm talking about?" she asked. She was next to me at the window as we looked out at the doves searching for food, but she turned from the birds and looked at me. I knew her look. I faced her.
"Not one bit," I answered truthfully as she held out her closed hand.
"Here," she said, and she opened her hand. There were three pins spread across her palm. Each one had a very peculiarly shaped head. At first I thought they were the flower-shaped heads, but they looked like flowers with all the petals picked.
"I melted three of them," she explained as she moved her hand closer to my face so I could get a good look.
"I didn't know that," I said. She was right. They did look melted. Very melted. Plastic fusion.
"I ran the iron right over them," she said.
"You were ironing?" I asked. Now we were getting somewhere. No doubt she was ironing pins.
"I was finishing up the last of the sashing, and I had all those nice quilting pins with the round yellow heads holding the sashing in place as I ironed. I'm usually very careful...." she began.
"You're usually very, very careful," I said. I knew my Darling Wife was hurting. I could feel her pin-pain.
"But I was almost finished all the sashing around each square and I got careless and ironed over some of the pins and melted their nice round yellow heads into mushy yellow heads."
Well, I knew what I had to say next. "I'm sorry," I said, but I didn't know how much real sympathy came across in my reply. I was too busy wondering how a person sews around a square. Shouldn't it be to sew alongside a square or down the sides of the square or across the top and bottom of a square? "So you have three pins with mashed heads?" I asked. "That isn't very many."
"But I might do it again," she said mournfully.
"Just how many more squares do you have to sash?" Now that's quilt talk.
"I'm all done," she said.
"All thirty-five squares?"
"Yes," she said, with a bit less remorse in her voice.
"But you only melted three fat-headed pins?"
"That was on the last square. I was more careful by then. But there were the other squares."
"And other pins?" I guessed.
"Yes," she said meekly.
"You don't have to tell me how many."
"I wasn't going to," she said.
"But you need to buy some more pins?"
She nodded her sweet little head. It wasn't flat.
"But not for this project?" I asked. If she had already finished all the sashing, she was home safe.
"I still need to sew all the squares together into the quilt top."
"Oh. So you need more pins."
"With absolutely unmeltable glass heads." There was no question about it. "How many?"
"Probably hundreds," she said with a smile.
"Can't you use the old ones until you melt them all?"
"I'm not going to melt any more. But just in case."
"So you're ready to look at the doves now?"
"They all flew away," she said.
I looked out the window at the empty lawn and wondered about what makes up the meaning of life. "Pins," I said.
Copyright A.B. Silver 1998
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