Project #39




We were in yet another quilting shop waiting for her quilting supplies to be packed up in three large shopping bags. She was excited about the new fabric, the new bobbin holder, the new stencils, the new quilting thread, the new scissors, and too much else. I was excited about bankruptcy.

"Look at this," she said to me as she wandered over toward a wall of quilts on display. Since she had taken up quilting ten months before, we had spent what seemed like 98 percent of our waking hours looking at quilts. Every sewing store or quilting store we visited had quilts. When we went to Wal-Mart for some aspirin, she somehow found out Wal-Mart had quilts hanging in the fabric section. When we went to a gas station in Lancaster, PA, there was a quilt hanging over a motor oil display. All God's children, it seemed, either made or had quilts.

"Look at what?" I asked. I was already looking in our check book to see if we would ever have a positive balance again.

"This quilt," she said as she pointed to a small quilt hanging on the wall of the shop, one among many. Too many. I looked. The quilt had a lot of pointy things and a lot of square things and some triangular things and it was very colorful. It was beautiful, but I wasn't going to tell her that. She'd want to make one just like it.

"Uhm, yes, very nice," I said, trying to turn away and divert her attention toward my checkbook and the fact that she had spent all our food money for the next three years.

"I'm going to make one like it," she said, not easily diverted from anything having to do with her new passion in life.

"I thought you were going to make that one over there that looks like a blue checkerboard," I said, pointing to a blue and white quilt that looked like a checkerboard.

"I am," she said. She gave me a look that asked me why I didn't understand her passion to make more than one quilt.

"But you want to make that quilt as well?"

"Lots of quilts," she said. It was her mantra. She had already completed six quilts, five wall hangings, and started started a dozen more of both. PIP's she called them. Projects in progress. She was a human quilt factory.

"Are you ready to go now?" I asked her as I grabbed the three bags. I had to get her out of there before she lost all control. But she did not answer. In a blink she had disappeared. I looked around and saw her at another display at the back of the store. Darn, she was fast. I put down the bags and hurried over to her. I wondered if there were some kind of blinders I could have her put on when we went into a quilting shop. Just in and out. Buy the one item she needed and scoot her out into the real world. I have a dream!

"Look at this," she said.

"Do I have to?" Of course. I looked at a quilted carry-all, a large bag that looked like a sleeping bag for a pet monkey. We didn't have a monkey. We didn't need the bag. "You don't need a bag," I said. "We have no more money for a bag. We will never again have any money for a bag."

"I'm not going to buy it," she said in her "exasperated-with-me" kind of way. "I'm going to make one."

"I thought you were going to make the quilt we just looked at?"

"I am. I'm going to quilt a lot of things. There are a lot of things to quilt."

"But you have all those other projects you said you were going to make, don't you?" Of course she did.

"I'll make them all," she said.

"You don't have time to make them all," I said. She looked at me. She just kept on looking at me. "Do you?"

"I'm very organized," she said. "I'll make time. Now, write the bag down as thirty-nine."


"Project thirty-nine," she said.

"What's thirty-nine?" I was very confused just then. First of all I had no paper. I had no pencil. I had no idea what she was talking about.

"To add to my list of projects. I already have a quilt like the one on the wall down as project twenty-two, so you don't have to write it down again. This is project thirty-nine."

"You have a list of projects? I never saw any list?"

"I have a list at home. Otherwise I couldn't remember all the projects I have to do. Now I have to add these to the lists, and I don't want to forget."

"That's understandable," I said. "You plan to do thirty-nine projects,"

"You got it, Babe."

"And what if you see something else you like?" Just what if?

"Then that would be project forty." Or fifty or sixty, I thought.

I looked back to the counter where her three bags full sat. "We should get your packages before someone takes them," I said. I took her hand and dragged her back toward the counter. Thank goodness she came with me. Maybe now she wouldn't think of any more projects.

"Now, look at that," she said as she suddenly stopped by a table covered with fall fabrics. My arm stopped as well, stretched about three feet longer than it had been..

"Nice table," I said. She didn't want any more fabric, did she?

"Remind me to get some fall colors," she commanded. "Add it to the list."

"What list?" I asked. I hoped she had forgotten

"You did write down the carry-all as project thirty-nine, didn't you?" she asked. She is not an easily distracted woman. I went to the counter and borrowed a pencil and begged a piece of paper and wrote down what she told me to write down, project thirty-nine and fall colors.

"Don't lose the paper," she said.

I would never think of it.

Copyright 1998 by A.B. Silver

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