A Sampler of Hope
In the bustle of a busy week the telephone rang. It was a reminder that someone loved by the Lady-of-the-House was scheduled for “further tests” the next day. Medical exams can be unnerving. By accompanying the patient she would lend support. She would also have a portion of time with nothing to do. She made preparations for it. She supplied her denim bag. A row of strawberries was all that was left to stitch on her “carnation” sampler. Slow and steady is how she stitches. There really is no other way to do it. Little stitches can’t be rushed. Recently, however, time reserved for stitching had vanished into thin air.
With the linen rolled in a towel, her thread tucked into the pockets of the sewing case, with her smallest pair of scissors, oh yes, and the plastic magnifying lens she wears around her neck to see the stitches, she was set.
During the test she waited in the car. It was a beautiful cool spring morning. She clung to hopeful thoughts for the patient although the results of the test would come later. Her natural temperament veers toward melancholy. She must be mindful of seeing roses beyond thorns, honey beyond bee stings.
Of St Paul’s three; faith, hope and love, love is emboldened by feeling. Faith relies on the intellect. Hope involves the will. Hope optimistically reaches out a hand in the dark to turn on the light. It sees the good and the beautiful in the light of the Kingdom of God.
Hope is like the sun, which as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us. Samuel Smiles
Through car windows the Lady-of-the-House glanced around the plaza. Everything was emerald green. Neatly trimmed bushes and flowering trees bordered the parking lot and walkways. Someone evidently had hired the right landscaper. A fountain was attracting twittering birds but the sound of tweets and splashing water was faint. Here’s why. A young man was mowing and edging the grass. At one end of the parking lot food service trucks backed up to an historic stone house, converted into a fine restaurant. Around the corner of the medical building, out of her line of vision, was the main air conditioning unit roaring low but unendingly. The Lady-of-the-House sighed. “Sometimes this is almost a perfect world,” she thought and twisted to the backseat for her denim bag.
She unrolled the linen, threaded the needle and made the first pink stitch. It was some minutes before her shoulders begin to soften. She prayed for the patient and remembered to make a calming prayer of appreciation for peace in the midst a nervous, distracting world. Her shoulders softened some more. “I never get tired of stitching strawberries,” she mused soothingly. Vines, however, are another matter. Without accurate counting the picking out of wayward stitches follows.
On the way home the Man-of-the-House and the Lady-of-the-House stopped at some of the many roadside stands in their neighborhood and filled two baskets.
Stitching strawberries and eating strawberries made the Lady-of-the-House wonder how many strawberries are on the walls of her house. She has never counted all the strawberries on all her samplers but the number must be high.
And for years there has hung a plump beaded velvet strawberry, with satin flower, on the drawer of her desk – made by a friend. Lovely.
On Saturday the Lady-of-the-House roasted asparagus in the oven.
She made her usual avocado sandwich on homemade bread but added strawberries as a lark. Different, but delicious.
Then she sat on the patio to stitch her last strawberry. The relaxing moment was worth waiting for.
The Man-of-the-House was sitting across from her. He likes to unwind with an mp3 plugged into his ears. He was listening to old radio recordings of the comedians Bob & Ray.
“It’s done,” his wife announced.
“Very nice,” he smiled. She read him the verse. “Very nice,” he said again. He was concise but sincere.
While bouncing back and forth in indecision on how to personalize her sampler, she added birds and rabbits from other charts, and eventually settled upon a verse by Emily Dickinson. It is a ponderous reminder.
She squeezed in the last two words in a manner done on many a girlhood sampler in days of old.
The verse replaces Mary Rule’s name and other identifying notes she originally stitched in 1848. But the piece will be remembered as a sort of partnership, past and present, of feminine work and whimsy by the Lady-of-the-House.
During the week a friendly letter came her way. The young mother had an optimist’s cheerful tone of gratitude in her pen. She spoke of the joy of home teaching and seeing the world through the eyes of her little children – no doubt with newness, a sense of wonder, and with purity. The Lady-of-the-House affirmed this joy in her reply and added, “They’re seeing the world through your eyes, too.”
For “hope” in education see “Parents as Inspirers” posted October 2, 2010.
The chart is by “Lady in Thread.”
For my friends who asked how to roast asparagus when I told them what I'd been up to. With a vegetable peeler remove skin from midway along spears. Place in a roasting pan. With the peeler handy, shave two or three carrots into a pile of strips. Cut a sweet onion into wedges. Add carrot and onion to asparagus. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over vegetables to lightly coat. Sprinkle with salt. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until fork tender.
Remove from oven and season with fresh herbs of choice. Serve as a side dish (as shown) or chopped and tossed with pasta and grated Romano cheese. Try fennel bulb sliced thinly in place of onion.
Thank you for visiting,