The Thanksgiving Quilt, Conclusion

 The Thanksgiving Quilt, Conclusion

 The Thanksgiving Quilt - Part 2

 

Rust and orange overflowing in a vase, the mums graced the center of the Thanksgiving table.  And they looked good, too, Martha had to admit. Simple, but just fine. The children had grazed most of the relish tray and were squirming at the table, not hungry at all. But they were so cute.  Martha looked across the table to her husband, and found Bob was watching her. She blushed slightly when Linda said, “Everything is amazing, Martha, someday you will have to teach me how you do all this.”

 

“I’ll get the coffee,” offered Martha. “Let me, Mom,” said Jim bounding up from the table. But instead of heading to the kitchen, Jim dashed to the back porch. He returned with a large soft shaped square, loosely wrapped in tissue paper and tied with a pumpkin ribbon. He handed it to Martha with a quick kiss. Martha looked around the table at her family. Each was proud as punch.

 

Beneath the pumpkin ribbon, Martha found a quilt. But it wasn’t a quilt club creation, even though she recognized Marilyn’s traditional hand binding. It wasn’t like any quilt ever.

 

Each block was a crayon picture, outlined in wonky stitches, joined with scrap sashing that somehow seemed familiar. There was turkey, apron, chrysanthemums, and pie. There was a drawing of the house, and of the garden, and one block that was just scribbles. Every other block was a traditional patchwork star, likewise done in crayon instead of pieced. In the center, Martha’s own eye-glasses and curly white hair looked back at her from a smiling cartoon face.

 

“That’s you, Grandma,” said Jack proudly, “I drew you.”

“You made me, a quilt?  How...” Martha’s hand traced the wonky stitching. She could feel the love in every stitch.

 

Jim laughed, “You taught me to sew, remember? I never finished anything, sure, but I remembered how to turn the machine on. Dad burrowed in your giant bin of scraps and sent me pieces for the sashing.” The two men clinked their glasses together, celebrating their sneaky success.

 

“I learned how to set these crayon blocks on Pinterest,” Linda contributed, “and the outline stitch, too.”

“Beautiful stitches!” said Martha, and there was true gratitude in her smile.

“We got a little stuck at the end,” Bob admitted. “Had to ask your club friend, Marilyn, to finish it off for us.”

 

Martha looked from the quilt to the Thanksgiving table and back again. They matched.

“I didn’t think anyone noticed,” she said softly.

“And that’s why we did it,” said Jim.

“To say thanks for all you do,” added Linda, taking Jim’s hand.

“Thankful for you, Grandma,” said Jack.

“Thanks for you,” said the baby.

“Don’t cry on the quilt, woman,” said Bob. “Is there any more pie?”

The Thanksgiving Quilt, Part Two

 The Thanksgiving Quilt - Part Two

 The Thanksgiving Quilt - Part One

 

Beep beep! A horn interrupted Martha, and the women turned to see Jim’s sports wagon arriving in front of the house. His mother smiled and shook her head as Jim parked on the front yard like he did when he was in high school. Jack and his baby sister, loosed from their car seats, ran through swirling leaves to hug their grandmother.  

 

Martha knelt to scoop both babies in her arms and they squirmed under her blanket of kisses. “Say good-bye to Mrs. Walker,” Martha instructed as she took the children by the hand. But Marilyn had gone already. Martha shrugged. Marilyn must have understood how busy she was after all, she decided as she walked the children to the house.

 

Inside the house, Linda was clickety-clacking her high heels through the screen, balancing a hot casserole with her perfectly manicured hands, negotiation with the wreath on the door for passage.  Martha hoped her smile radiated welcome as she made room on the stove for the extra dish.

 

“Hello, Mother,” Linda stooped to bless Martha with air kisses. “Do you have an apron for me?” Martha knew it was harmless to give Linda an apron. She would only wear it around a few hours, organizing the buffet and re-shining the spoons.

 

Looking out the kitchen window, Martha expected to see Jimmy carrying in their luggage, but no one was left under the twin maple trees in the front yard. Down stairs she could hear Bob cheering his teams. Jimmy must already be in the basement den with his Dad and the football.

 

“Linda, don’t let the baby eat all the olives,” Martha was talking over her shoulder as she went through to collect the beans and flowers from the back porch. “Yes, very cute, but remember how sick she got last Thanksgiving.”

 

On the porch, Martha at last spied her only son. He was at the fence visiting with Mrs. Marilyn Walker.

The Thanksgiving Quilt Begins

 The Thanksgiving Quilt - Part 1

Martha pulled the last beans from the vine. Not enough to fill her old blue mixing bowl, but surely plenty for the dinner. Linda, #DIL as Martha referred to her on Twitter, never ate much anyway. The pumpkins she would leave on the vine for the children to “find.”  Wiping her hands on her apron, Martha allowed herself time to smile, remembering how little Jack always thought the pumpkins were his.  

 

So much to do, she shaded her eyes from the soft autumn sunshine to look around the yard. A few late crab apples remained. Could she count on the children to find them as well? The corn was long past harvested, but stalks remained awaiting composting. Bob had promised to winterize the garden. No point in bringing it up today, he was busy in his traditional Thanksgiving mode:  testing Martha’s homemade pies and warming up the TV for football.  

 

Bountiful in rust and orange, chrysanthemums bordered the back porch, reminding Martha she had altogether forgotten the centerpiece. Sighing, she left the bowl of beans on the porch steps, collected her cutting basket and shears from the potting shed in the corner of the garden, and commenced harvesting Fall colors.

 

So this is holidays? Martha mused as she beheaded the mums. Does anyone even care how the table is set? Next year she would order pies at the bakery. Who would know? Next Thanksgiving, she would spend all day in her sewing room. No, the entire four day weekend, for sure she would. She could finish in entire quilt!  Martha consoled herself planning her Thanksgiving quilt.

 

“Martha, Martha!” Marilyn was waving from her own backyard across the fence. Martha was so busy ruminating, she hadn’t heard her neighbor calling. Burdened with politeness, Martha went to the fence. Although a dear neighbor, , Marilyn was always too chatty In their neighborhood quilt club meet-ups . This is the last thing she needed on this busy Thanksgiving afternoon.

 

“Have the kids arrived yet?” Marilyn’s eyes twinkled mischievously. “Soon,” Martha replied hastily. “I bet you’ll be glad to see them,” Marilyn crooned. “Of course, that’s why I’m going to all this trouble...” Martha stopped herself. Did she somehow sound contradictory? Marilyn wasn’t listening. “What will they be bringing? Maybe, a surprise?” she continued non-stop. “Well, no, we have everything ready. You know Linda only drinks diet things, and there is plenty left from her last visit.  Jimmy and the kids....”

Beep beep! A horn interrupted Martha -