Walking the Dog




Naturally, when I'm driving along the highway at seventy miles an hour, I keep my eyes on the road. That is why I didn't see what she was doing during the four hour trip to see our son and his family. I knew she was busy. I saw the box of buttons she had brought into the car. She had bought a grab bag of buttons, and I assumed she was sorting them into small plastic bags. I was wrong.

"Did you get all the buttons sorted?" I asked when we reached our destination and were getting out bags out of the car.

"What buttons?" she asked.

"You brought the box of buttons," I said. "To sort," I added.

"I sorted them last week," she said.

"But you had that box?"

"No buttons," she said. "Yo-yo's."

"Yo-yo's?" What was she doing with toys, unless, of course, she had brought it for our granddaughter. Was she old enough at four and half for a yo-yo."

"You want to see them? I thought you wanted a break from my sewing."

"Wooden or plastic?" I asked. We both needed a break from her sewing. Visiting the family was a good break.


"Are you in the same conversation I am?" I asked.

"You asked what the yo-yo's were made out of."


"I just told you."

"I never saw one made out of cotton. It wouldn't spin."

"Why would I want it to spin. I'll use thread so it doesn't spin."

"Thread? You can't use thread. You need special string so you can walk the dog. Thread will break."

"Are you in the same conversation I am?" she asked.

"Show me a cotton yo-yo," I answered.

"So you're interested in my sewing again."

"I'm interested in seeing you spin a cotton yo-yo."

"I'll get them," she said, and she moved back to the open door of the car and reached to the bottom of the front seat.

"How many did you bring?"

"I didn't bring any," she said.

"You said you brought yo-yo's in the button box."

"I brought a needle and thread and the fabric for the yo-yo's," she said as she closed the car door and came to my side. She carried a small two-handled shopping bag.

"I could do 'Rock the Baby' and 'Loop the loop' and other stunts when I was a kid," I said. "And we had solid wooden yo-yo's when I was a kid. Not even girls had cotton yo-yo's."

"You're still doing tricks," she said. She reached into the bag and brought out a small scrap of flowered yellow fabric. "Here," she said, and she handed me the fabric.

"What's this?" I asked.

"A yo-yo," she said. Then she did an amazing thing. She reached into the bag and brought out a handful more of the scraps. She pushed them into my hands and then brought out some more. "Yo-yo's," she said.

I looked at the growing pile in my hands. Each scrap was a small circle, sewed into the shape of a small blossom of some flower. Some were tiny and some were large and some were in-between. I looked more carefully. Each was sewn delicately, the rim folded over and stitched carefully. "Yo-yo's?" I asked.

"That's what I was making."

"You made all these?"

"More," she said, and she opened the bag so I could look inside. There were about a billion little flowers in the bag.

"They look like flowers."

"Rosettes. They were very popular in the thirties. They made quilts out of these without any batting or backing. But they also can be used to decorate clothes. Or anything for that matter. I could decorate you. That would be an improvement."

"That might not be kind to my skin," I protested. I hoped she was kidding. I didn't need her sewing yo-yo's anywhere on my body, improvement or not.

"I could use yo-yo puncture," she answered generously.

It was not a good time to encourage her. "You made them all on the trip," I said quickly. "I'm impressed. How did you sew them so fast?"

"How fast were you driving?"

"The speed limit. Seventy miles an hour."

"I made them at seventy miles an hour." "Why are they called yo-yo's?" I asked. Though each was round like a yo-yo, I saw no other similarity.

"What would you call them?" she asked.

"Bagels," I said.

"You're a yo-yo," she said, and she grabbed back all her little flowers and headed toward the house. "Bring in all the luggage," she said.

"You can eat bagels," I yelled after her though she was already in the house hugging our granddaughter. But I still had one of her yo-yo's. I wondered if I attached a string to it whether I could still walk the dog.


Copyright A.B. Silver 1998

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