The Quilt Stayed Home
Sadly, I wasn't able to take the quilt to Thailand, when our family traveled recently.
What fun that would have been to have gathered around the quilt with some new friends in another country. It's been a while since the quilt has traveled. But I was able to bring lots back from Thailand, to share with my regular Quilt Group folks!
In my morning group, we used some traditional Thai music to inspire a little dancing.
So much of traditional Thai dance is focused on beautiful hand movements. Doing "hand dancing" was the perfect thing for my senior groups, since many aren't mobile as they used to be. We studied some videos and laughed at our own lack of hand flexibility! But I heard one happy discovery. "Hey, I think this is good for my arthritis!'
I thought this might be an odd subject for my senior groups, but they all seemed to love it. We talked about the healing qualities of Thai foot massage and again, I heard a comment... "That would be good for my arthritis!"
I laughed with the group about some humorous foot massage experiences our family had in the numerous shops we encountered. I showed them the funny tool they used on pressure points. "Can you use that on my back?" One asked. We also talked about feet in Thailand... not wearing shoes in the home... rules about not pointing feet towards anyone honorable, especially a Buddhist monk. A lot of foot talk!
I encouraged some of the folks to look at the books together. It was fun to hear the discussions they had over the photographs.
I loved it when a new gentleman in the group, pointed to a map of Thailand and showed us where he had lived in the 1950's. Then 2 dear friends read a children's book aloud together. The book was written as a lullaby and although they didn't sing, their words sounded musical!
Joyce checked out a colorful guide book and Margie exercised her muscles by lifting the heaviest book of them all. Everyone was intrigued with the hefty book of photographs, taken by hundreds of photographers in all parts of Thailand. All photographs in the book were shot on the very same day.
I wish I could have brought back all the unusual fruits we tried on our stay. Of course I couldn't, but at least we have numerous Asian grocery stores in the Houston area.
We didn't cut into the pink dragon fruit, but our friend who had lived in Thailand showed the others how to pop open the round, longan fruits. A few were brave enough to taste.
The King and I
Most of the seniors remembered the famous movie based on the book, Anna and the Kind of Siam. But none knew that the movie was banned in Thailand, because of the way the king is portrayed in the film. It is against the law to disrespect the king in Thailand.
"Getting to Know You" was the perfect beginning. The faces around our table lit up. "I Whistle a Happy Tune" got many in the group singing and whistling. And then I took a risk and played "Hello Young Lovers". The music and lyrics are extremely moving. Why would I dare play a song about a woman recalling her late husband? The recording in the link below is lovely, with the dramatic finale.
I knew that most of the residents sitting around the table were probably young and in love, when the movie was popular in 1956. I worried that the nostalgic song would trigger longing, for late spouses. But we just held hands around the table and swayed and attempted to sing along. It was sweet to look away from the table and see those far across the room watching and smiling. And by the very end when Anna's voice rose louder, we all lifted our hands up, like some sort of revival and we belted it out along with her. It felt like our Thailand theme had gone straight to Broadway!
One More Stop
The next day I took my quilt and theme to the Women's Shelter, to spend time with the kids. I looked pretty clownish in my Thai elephant ensemble, but I figured the kids would prefer a Thailand theme that focused more on elephants. I even made up an elephant song and dance.
I got to the shelter and there was not one child in the building, on that afternoon. ( a first in my 14 years) It's an odd thing to be geared up and let down. I was ready! Then, I reminded myself about what that really means. The children I expected to see have moved on from their temporary home. This is a very good thing and I celebrated that as I drove home... in my elephant pants!
For 20+ years children have called it the Magic Quilt. They've danced and pretended all over these colorful squares. I've dragged it to schools, shelters and studios where children have climbed on top to hear Magic Quilt Stories and to act them out.