Tripping around John’s Barn

Mom is 92 years young. She is the sweetest person you will ever meet, but sometimes her thought process makes me want to tear my hair out. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Mom is definitely in charge of all her mental faculties. She can remember everything in her youth, all the birthdays of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, and what kind of bagel she had for breakfast. However, sometimes discussing everyday matters will take the two of us around John’s barn. John’s barn?—You ask. Who’s John? Going around John’s barn is an expression I remember Mom using from the time I was very young. And no one knows John—it just means going in circles in our conversations. Let me give you a—for example.

For many years, Mom and I have quilted together making blankets for children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Five years ago, Mom’s arthritic hands stopped holding a needle altogether, so she continued to sew blankets by osmosis—meaning, I cut the pieces out; I sewed the pieces together; I put binding on the blanket; Mom presented the blanket to a loved one. Recently, my fingers also have given into arthritis.

“Mom,” I said one day, “a friend of mine told me about the Quilt House. You take a 2-hour class for $35.00 and then you can use their quilting machine to finish out the blanket for just $15.00 an hour. That would be so much easier on my hands. What do you think?”

Being the frugal lady that she has always been, Mom said, “Then you have to add the cost of batting.”

“Well, that’s right, Mom,” I said. “You take in the finished top and the backing, along with the batting to go in between. Or you can purchase the batting at their shop.”

“That’s what I thought,” Mom said with a humph. “You have to buy the batting from them.”

I tried again. “No, Mom, you can bring your own batting if you prefer.”

“But you still have to buy the batting,” she insisted.

“Mom, we always buy batting for the filler. We would have to buy it even if we didn’t use the machine at the Quilt House.”

“And there you have it. You have to buy the batting,” Mom said without missing a beat.

It was at this point that I wondered what color John had painted his barn this year. I remember in my youth making lots of trips around his barn with Mom. I thought I should try one more time. “Mom, walk through this with me. You and I cut out small pieces and then sew them together to form a blanket top, right?”

“Yes,” she agreed.

“Then we find backing from all your fabric and we match the two pieces up then slide the batting in between for a fluffy blanket, right?”

“Right.” She was still marching in time with me.

“Where do we usually get that batting?”

“WalMart.” Still with me.

“Mom, the only difference in going to the Quilt House is that they have a huge machine to run the layers through to be quilted.”

“And we have to buy the batting,” Mom reminds me.

My sister, Virginia, walks in at that time and immediately recognizes that look on my face. She knows that Mom and I just had another glorious trip around John’s barn.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I look forward to many more delightful trips with you around John’s barn. I love you!

Categories Legacy Writing Prompts | Tags: , , , , , | Posted on May 12, 2013

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