I'd gone over to pick up a few vegetables at the grocery store and had been given a 'package to pick up' card that the postman had dropped off a day or two ago. I was expecting something so wasn't surprised. I thought, thankfully, that I'd go to the post office first and then finish up with the shopping. The box was huge. It wasn't what I expected at all. Instead of the nice, tidy, little box I was looking for, out came a large white battered box of enormous size. I had my huge 'Dunnes' shopping bag on the back of my chair and it barely fit into it. I knew I was going to have trouble fitting into an elevator what with that huge bag attached to my back.
So, no grocery shopping. Instead I wedged into the elevator, rode up, and then headed home. Once here I had to have help from the nice man on the desk in the lobby to get in to the building and then into the elevator. Finally at home and in my office chair, I could look at the package. It was from my parents. They hadn't mentioned sending anything, I couldn't imagine what it was. It was big and bulky but not very heavy. Odd.
We found some scissors and attacked the package. My parents use tape liberally. Very liberally. Almost with abandon. So it took some work getting into it.
Once opened I pulled out a huge handmade crocheted blanket. It's done in zig zag rows with three repeating colours. I'm a man so to me the colours are beige, orange and red. It's a little frustrating because I know that there are exact names for these colours - because the orange isn't exactly orange and the red isn't exactly red. But, I'm afraid my colour vocabulary is lacking. I can almost see niece Shannon slowly shaking her head in disappointment. But, I'm a guy. Deal with it.
My first reaction was a kind of a horror. I didn't like the colours at all. The workmanship was awesome, it's quite a beautiful piece of work - but the colours, oh my. Then there was a note inside from my mother telling me that the blanket was made by my Grandmother Hingsburger and that she had been working on it when she died. My mother then finished it. For some reason my mother decided that I might want it.
Now, I loved my Grandmother and I love all my memories of her - but sort of orange and sort of red? We put it on the end of the couch to be used as a throw. It's summer so we knew it would be a while before it found a use. Or so I thought.
Over the past several days, somethings happened to the blanket. It's made itself quite at home where it is, it even seems happy to be here. Now when I see it, the colours don't jar me quite so much. Now when I glance over there I see something warm and inviting. I see the work of my Grandmother's hands.
She was a remarkable woman, my Gran. Her impact on my life has been enormous, the comfort she offered me as a child is still incredibly effective for me as an adult. I still dream of the house she lived in, a prairie shack, those dreams are the best dreams I have. I only have them once or twice a year. I dream I'm in the house and roaming around. I'm alone, but I know Grandma isn't far off. I feel a kind of bliss in the dream. I feel entirely and completely safe there. Safe to explore that world, safe to be simply me. My Grandmother's arms will always represent for me the symbol of all encompassing, undeserving, forgiving and understanding love.
I know that, with time, I've idealized her. But, I don't think by much. She had a gift and it was a gift she gave freely. I can still hear the timbre of her voice and how she said my name. No one ever pronounced David the way she did. The inflection she used when speaking to me and of me.
So now, when I look at that blanket I sometimes long for winter. I want to wrap myself up in it and let it hold me, like she used to, when I was a child.