In life, we can’t all be quilters

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TREENA MIELKE/On The Other Side

Driving back and forth to work, especially in the summer, when the world obligingly spreads out in front of my windshield like some kind of magnificent piece of art work, is kind of like an oasis in my day.

No stories. No deadlines. No supper, dishes, laundry or lawn to mow.

Just me, my thoughts and I, and if I remember, a chance to try one more time to drink coffee while driving without spilling same all over myself.

The other day when I was thus engaged, I found myself behind a slow-moving rig move, giving me a little more time than I had bargained for to reflect on life or anything else for that matter.

I resisted the urge to indulge in some kind of minor form of road rage such as clapping my hands above the steering wheel and saying, “Chop, chop, guys, I need to get to work, let’s go,” or, simply sighing hugely, while tapping my fingers impatiently on my steering wheel.

I did both, which, of course, resulted in zero action from the drivers ahead of me, so I resorted instead to allowing my mind take an unprecedented journey to wherever it wanted to go.

It was then I began to think about the quilting show I had covered recently and how I had learned so much from those talented, lovely ladies who stitched laughter, friendship and the simple joy of life into each of their creations.

I, myself, was raised in a bachelor pad, where I lived with all guys, my dad, my brothers and me, all etching out a life where fishing, hunting, hockey and baseball completely ruled out any time for the gentler, feminine arts such as the making of quilts.

But, life has a way of taking us on unexpected journeys and when I grew up (or at least grew older) a maker of quilts who also stitched love, joy and passion into each and every stitch, came into my life.

And I drive slowly behind that convoy of rig movers and the day spreads before me in a kaleidoscope of colors the film of memories in my mind goes back to my mother-in-law, the maker of quilts and bread and baby clothes and all things that were delightful and good.

She has long since left this world, but the indelible mark of her kindness will, no doubt, remain forever.

The convoy ahead of me moves slowly, leaving me ample time to mush all my thoughts around in a blender of reflections.

I, too, wanted to be a quilter or at least a knitter or maybe a crocheter, so I could present the latest grandchild with a ‘labor of love’ made by grandma. And so I engaged my dear, kind and patient sister-in-law to help me achieve this lofty goal.

However, after my pathetic attempt resulted in only one small oddly made crocheted circle, she suggested I keep my day job, not worry about developing a creative talent that may or may not be buried deep inside me and move on.

And she happily finished the quilt and let me sign my name to the card.

I smile as I remember and suddenly there it is, the “Rimbey” sign.

And as I began another day in my life as a reporter I resign myself to the fact I may never learn the wonderful, feminine art of quilting, but I will be forever grateful for the women in my life who have.

And I begin to try to stitch together enough words to make a story, or even aspire to paint a word picture that will make someone laugh or cry or at least keep reading past the headline.

And I feel better!

—Treena Mielke is the associate editor of The Rimbey Review.