Saturday, March 29, 2014

I want sandcastles

In this winter and gray spring that just won't turn loose, I found myself thinking about sandcastles lately.  Understand, I've never been a real beach-loving person, but sand structures bring back some great childhood memories.

My first sand building started in my backyard, nowhere near a beach.  You know you are a true Southerner if you have a tractor tire sandbox in your backyard. Since my daddy was a farmer, he provided a tractor tire for my sandbox and one for my friend Wayne.  We spent endless hours in the sand.

My first sand structures were frog houses.  That particular structure is made by covering your feet with moist sand and packing it down.  They you remove your foot and you have an igloo-type house.  Problem—I have really high arches in my feet, so when I tried to pull my foot out, my frog house usually collapsed.

Wayne, who had flatter feet, was able to pull his foot out and start the process of breaking off little sticks to cover the opening, making it look like a fort.  I just dug my foot deeper in the sand and tried again.

As a teenager I spent a good bit of time at Sardis Lake.  While baking myself in the sun, my friends and I built sandcastles.  Some built elaborate, multi-towered masterpieces. I was content to scoop up wet sand in my hand and drizzle it into abstract sand towers.  When it dried, it was pretty impressive.

No artistic Neptune sculptures for me.  Just give me wet sand to drizzle and frog houses and I'm happy. Just thinking about this makes this gray day tolerable.

Wayne and me about the time of our sandbox days.  Here we are with his daddy, W.R. Gulledge, who is sporting a beard for Senataobia's centennial celebration in 1960.  Mr. Gulledge portrayed Abe Lincoln in the centennial pageant. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

The sound of quilting

If you listen to the group of women talking as they worked on quilt projects, you heard a mix of accents—Chicago, New York, and the room was thick with the various accents of Mississippi—from Vicksburg to Senatobia.

What brings a random group of women together for a week to do nothing but sew, eat, sleep, sew more and shop for fabric?  The common passion for quilting.  The women were as varied as the colors of their quilts.  They varied in age, economic status, level of quilting knowledge, just to name a few of the differences.

Their quilts reflected those differences.  One woman had done a beautiful quilt as a memorial to her dear boy who had lived the hobo lifestyle.  She chose the symbols of hobo living to work into her quilt.  When she showed it to us, along with photos of her son, she smiled and tears sparkled in her eyes.

Some did traditional blocks, some were scrappy with favorite pieces of fabric and dresses worn long ago.

All this creativity took place at the top of an Alabama hillside in a three-story home and retreat for crafters.  We were summoned to three delicious meals a day by the ring of a silver bell.

We shared rooms and stories.  We talked about childbirth, the heartbreak of some of our children, we complained about men, and we learned from each other—lessons in life, lessons in quilting. The facility owner shared an aging Buddy to sit at our feet and watch us as we sewed. And then we told dog stories.

When we left for home we stopped and bought more quilt fabric and ate lunch.  We were hoarse from five days of talking when we returned to our respective homes.  Fabric, newly-bought, was unpacked and touched and inspected before our suitcases were sorted.

I can't wait to take my finished quilt, that looks like something you would find in a VW bus in 1969, to one of my long-arm quilter-friends.