"Woe," my Darling Wife said.
"Whoa? We can't stop now. We have another half mile to walk."
"I didn't say 'Whoa,' I said, 'Woe' as in woe is me or woe is I."
"Both of you?" I asked. I knew something was bothering her. When she had come down from her sewing room twenty minutes before, she had been frowning. I insisted on a walk in the autumn sunshine and cool weather. Usually, a walk would be enough to cheer her up from any discomfort.
"I messed up on some pieces," she said.
"Little pieces or big pieces?" She had been working on the new project for three months on and off, the paper-pieced eagle she fell in love with when she saw it in the magazine. In all three magazines. It came in parts, and each part had been a difficult time for her.
"Big and little pieces. I know I had the wrong color on a piece but I didn't find out what was wrong until I finished putting the pieces together."
"You knew it wouldn't be easy," I said in my most comforting tone.
"It warned me," she said.
"You were warned it wouldn't be easy?"
"It was not a project for the faint of heart," she said. "That's what the directions said
"You have a brave heart," I said.
"I can't even find out what the other piece was supposed to be because there are fifty pieces all stitched together in one lump."
"Too many to take apart. I'll have to patch it."
She seemed to be talking to herself now. She stopped walking and turned herself toward the ocean, that quilt of nature's sparkling two miles down the hill from where we stood. "You're going to fix it?" I asked.
"The eagle and the fish needs patches. We'd better get back."
"No more woes?"
About once a week for the past three months she had found herself in a quilting dilemma. Thread broke because of wear on the throat plate. We had the machine serviced. She ran out of one color fabric. She ripped apart and replaced the fabric in the two pieces with new fabric that she could also use in the two sections she hadn't done yet. She misread the pattern and used blue instead of yellow. She ripped apart that section and used yellow. Her needle broke twice trying to push through a section that was too thick for its own good. She used a larger needle. And on and off it went. "It's not for the faint of heart," she said again. "I was warned. I should have paid attention."
"You wanted the eagle and you wanted to make the wall hanging," I said time and again.
"You just want the eagle for your wall."
"There's a space on the wall."
"Because you wanted to put the hummingbird hanging in your office nook."
"The birds just flew away," I said. "They flew onto the other wall on their own." As it was now, there was an empty space on the bedroom wall that the eagle would fill nicely. It would be between the great blue heron and the chameleon.
"Do you deserve all the work I did and all the frustration?" she asked.
"Of course," I said.
"The top is done and you can see the patches," she said. "Anyone can see the patches. Anyone looking will see the patches and not the eagle."
"Show me," I said.
"Not yet. I have to fix the patches with some other patches that can't be seen."
"I won't stand so close," I said.
"You'll have to stand a mile away and keep your eyes closed," she said.
"The quilt will be on the wall over the bed and no one will be able to get close," I said.
"What if someone stands on the bed and walks over the bed quilt and gets really close."
"Do you know anyone in the world who will come into our house and climb on the bed and walk over your best quilt and peer at the wall from an inch away and find the patches?" I asked.
"You never know. What if a burglar comes in and knocks us both over the head and steals the quilt and then doesn't want it when he sees the patches and yells at me for having a sloppy eagle?"
"I'll shoot the burglar before he gets too close."
So, she patched the patches and finished the wall hanging. I hung it over the bed. My Darling Wife, my brave-hearted quilter watched me carefully. Then she pulled back the bed quilt, took off her shoes, and climbed up on the bed close to the wall. She looked at the eagle for a long time. She looked at the fish. She looked all over. "I know where the patches are," she said.
"You're the only one," I said. From where I stood, at the end of the bed, the eagle looked ready to soar. Only happy, completely intact, secure eagles without patches that showed looked like that.
"It's a fine bird," I said.
"It had better be," she said.
Copyright 2004 by A.B. Silver
Click here to see finished "Eagle Quilt"
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