What to bring for a July 4th theme?
Last year, this old Uncle Sam doll was a hit with the folks at Silverado. I told the residents how the doll had belonged to my grandmother, who just happened to have been born on the fourth of July. My mom kept the doll in her home after her mother passed away. I was eager to see if my mom recognized Uncle Sam when I pulled him from the box. Alzheimer's prevented Mom from remembering how she displayed him carefully on a shelf with other antique toys or how she had always wanted to take him on Antiques Road Show to find out what he was worth. She couldn't remember those details, but there was such a look of delight on her face when she saw him. I know she at least felt the warmth of the memory. That funny old doll can still make her smile.
Too big of a hit!
So maybe Sam was too big of a hit last year. Everyone loved him, but I was worried my luck would run out and something would happen to him. I brought a photo of him this year.
Men and Flags!
Even though we don't make quilts, I have a hard time getting men to come to my group. It's my own fault for calling it the Quilt Group. But I was able to convince Jerry and Woody to come when I told them we were talking about flags! Jerry was intrigued with a book showing old flag designs. Woody listened to some recorded Sousa marches and kept perfect rhythm with his flag. If we'd only had more room, Woody is an incredible dancer...and I'm sure marcher.
It's hard to sit still when Sousa is playing. Dwayne used a flag like a conductor, emphasizing every beat.
Our Swiss Musician
I expected Ernest to enjoy the music. He's a musician from Switzerland, where he played clarinet in an orchestra. What I didn't realize was how beautifully Ernest can whistle! When Stars and Stripes reached that playful point where the piccolo takes the spotlight, Ernest puckered up and surprised us all with a tricky whistling accompaniment!
We got down to business with Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. While the timpani rumbled like thunder and bells began to clang, we clapped or waved flags. My mom can no longer participate in some of the quizzes and projects, but she recognized every piece of music and joined in, singing every note!
As the Overture reached its crazy finale with crashing cymbals and exploding fireworks, we joined in with sparkler sticks and palms slapping like cymbals.
We knew it was silly, but who can resist?
Finished with Flags
We turned the music softer and got out paper and glue sticks. Everyone had a chance to design their own flag using stars and stripes.
A few shared memories of flags. Vivian remembered how she flew one on her porch. Jerry recalled all the rules for flags. We talked about kids waving flags and I told a story about my mom asking a small Florida post office to please lower the flag when Martin Luther King died.
What I learned: Whether you use paper stars and stripes or a piece of music titled Stars and Stripes, there's just something festive about celebrating on the 4th. Our patriotic veteran had as much fun as our passionate musician. Celebrating keeps us young!
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.