Is this my 5th year doing a Christmas theme?
Hot Chocolate and Art Projects
I guess I shouldn't ever feel guilty about repeating a theme... especially this one.
I hurried to hand out Christmas cards I'd brought for each and reminded myself that it was a wonderful thing that my little Quilt Table wasn't the only thing these folks had going on!
Usually the wheel chairs are already gathered and waiting at the Nursing Home. Where was everyone? I knocked on a few doors and found a few empty rooms, which alarmed me. Where was Dorothy and where was Bob? The hardest part of working with the elderly is knowing you have to say good-bye.
I ended up with a sweet small group. Dot and Mary, both from the South laughed about their father's cutting down Christmas trees. Dot said the beauty of the tree her Daddy cut, sometimes had to do with how much beer he'd had to drink before heading out. Mary said her father cut trees for all of the classrooms in her elementary school. She said it was the least he could do since she and her siblings filled up every classroom in the school.
What Did I Learn?
The Fun Postcards
Talk of old letters can get sentimental and serious, so we had to lighten things with the crazy collection of whimsical postcards my mom collected over the years!
There were cards with moving parts and blinking eyes and two with attached baggies, one holding sand and the other, Spanish moss. We debated if any could actually be sent in the mail anymore.
The stress and heat of the day was broken when he hollered past the movers, "Is there a Beth Meyer who lives here?" I answered and lunged for the door, "Yes! Do I have mail!" "No," He said in a serious tone, before laughing and handing me a letter from a dear friend.
Tom had the most surprising story. His great grandfather had been a carrier of Confederate mail during the Civil War. As a young man Tom helped clean out his great grandfather's home and found a letter from Sam Houston. (Not sure how he aquired that?) Tom said he was able to sell the letter for $50 to the State Archives, so that he could pay for a gravestone.
"Write me a letter... Send it by mail. Send it in care of... The Birmingham jail.
Birmingham jail, Love. Birmingham jail. Send it in care of, The Birmingham jail."
I'm always curious to hear the thoughts that are shared when we draw cards with questions. "What do people like to get in the mail?" I heard everything from Love Letters to Social Security Checks! Charlotte remembered receiving letters from her mother in beautiful penmanship. Naomi remembered hoping to get responses in the mail, after writing fan letters to movie stars!
Doing my quilt groups has turned me into even more of a pack rat. I'm forever holding onto treasures that I might share with the groups. But on this day I brought in a box of unused greeting cards my mom had collected. She's been gone 2 years and I've made little progress in using her cards. So I set up shop at the Community Center and asked folks to take as many as they liked. What a treat watching the cards disappear.
What Did I Learn?
Every time I got irritated with our service, I looked at the mailbox and package ornaments on the tree and I thought of all the sweet stories that were shared around the Quilt Table.
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.