Pots and Pans




She was in the kitchen, her knees to the floor, her head and shoulders deep within the cupboard. I heard the clank and clunk of pots and pans. I watched, puzzled by what she was doing. She pulled herself out of that cupboard and went into another. More clunks and clanks and an occasional clatter. I waited.

"Thirty-seven," she said as she pulled her shoulders and head out of the cupboard.

"That's a good number," I said. I was a positive man. I wouldn't ask what she was talking about in any negative manner. I suspected she was counting something, but as we had sprayed regularly, I didn't think there were any ants or roaches deep within the bowels of the cupboards.

"That's way too many," she said. She stood and brushed off her knees.

"I agree. Too many of what?" I could no longer resist. Curiosity may have killed some careless cat, not knowing what she was talking about would have more severe consequences.

"Pots and pans," she said.

"We have thirty-seven pots and pans?" I asked. I only use two or three. "Goodwill could use some," I said.

"I suppose so. I didn't know how many we had. There are whole families of pots hidden away."

"So you're going through them and getting rid of some," I said, hoping that might be something she had in mind.

"I don't have time now."

"So why did you count them?"

"I'm making quilted pot holders. I needed to know how many to make."

"Aha! But you don't need a pot holder for every one," I said, my tone all-knowing. But I didn't know a thing.

"You don't know a thing," she said.

"That means you have a reason for making thirty-seven pot holders?"

"I have all those squares I have to use up," she said.

"Oh," I said. "Oh?" Then the proverbial light bulb went on over my head. Actually, she had just turned on the kitchen light, but that was enough to remind me that over the very rainy weekend just passed, she had practiced making 9-patch squares. She made millions of them. (All right, it was probably thirty-seven, but it seemed like millions.) She had also made a lot of noise as she sewed her weekend away.

"They're all wrong," she had wailed. "They're all crooked," she had moaned." She had shown some of them to me, and some were indeed crooked. Some squares were triangles and some were rectangles and some were crazy. The last she sorted into a pile for the "Crazy Quilt" she hoped to make some day.

So, back now in the kitchen with my DBQW (Darling Beginner Quilting Wife), I waited for her to explain.

"What?" she asked as I stared at her.

I had to ask. "Pot holders?"

"I read that the best thing to do with crooked, rotten, worthless sewing square mistakes was to make pot holders. They're quilts, too, you know."

"I guess so," I said. "Very little quilts," I teased.

"I can make lots and lots of Crazy Quilt pot holders," she said. There was no teasing with her when it came to quilting. "They don't have to perfect. They can be crooked all I want."

"Lots of pot holders mean thirty-seven?" I asked.

"All the other squares go into the real quilt. Once I learned what I was doing, I made some square squares, very good ones."

Square squares? Nah, I didn't touch that one. "Too good for pot holders?" I asked instead.

"Good enough for a quilt," she said. "I am making a quilt, you know."

"That's good enough for me," I said, and I no longer wondered why we had thirty seven pots and pans. We needed them for the pot holders.

Copyright 1998 by A.B. Silver

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