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.
That truely and deeply is love.
You know, Dave, it striked me that this is somewhat like the process of growing accustomed to someone very different, someone who challenges the way we think people ought to look or match up to the world around them. When we share time and space, differences are less startling, and the less striking but so relevant ways we are similar (and the shared memories, and the comforts given) become the first things we see in each other.
Dave, the way you describe your Gran is the way I feel whenever I read what you write. Loving generosity of spirit must run in your family. :)
Your Gran sounds like a truly wonderful woman.
How wonderful your mom sent you this....sounds like she often hasn't been very sensitive to you but this time she really got that you would like this afhgan. Enjoy and snuggle up...
You started my day with a smile. Thank you.
i'm smiling with very moist eyes. my Grammy was the one person who loved me for myself when I was a little girl, and it is her love that has sustained me through the dark times and helped me learn to trust again, to receive and give love carefully. i have a cookie jar that was hers - it's ugly as heck but it has a place in my bedroom where i see it daily. thanks, Dave, for touching my heart, again.
We have a rainbow blanket in our house, made by a close friend of my husbands, that, when given to him, we seriously considered giving to the Sally Ann immediately. I don't know why we didn't, but the love with which it was made (we've come to see) is crocheted right into every awful fibre. And so it cures all ills and hurts and soul-aching pains. My daughter, when in despair, would yell: I need the rainbow blanket; I wrapped it around me during my year-long battle with depression, it nursed my husband through kidney stones and back spasms. It is a healer and is no longer hidden, nor explained. It just is. I like what CT said. So ditto on that.
The wheeliecrone says -
My dearest friend crocheted an afghan for me. Every time I wrap it around me, i can feel the love she put into every stitch - what a comfort it is in winter!
I think you will find that your new throw will be wonderfully cosy on a cold winter day (or night).
Dave, this is a beautiful post. I thank you for sharing it, especially because it reminds me of my own grandmother's knitting. It really made me think of her hands and the crafting and artistry that they produced, in knitting and in cooking. Its nice to have moments like this to remember such things.
Enjoy your blanket. Comfort is such a gift.
It sounds like a cool blanket. It seems like your grandmother really liked those colors. By the way my name is Janielle and I'm a big fan of your blog.
I loved the unexpected gift and how it is making itself at home with you. I also loved what CT said. What a cool observation. I can so apply that to my friendships all of which are with people startling different to me, but with whom I feel supremely comfortable.
I have a blanket too, it's crocheted, in strips, with what was obviously the end of every ball of wall my Great Nana owned! I have always loved it, even though it's not very soft, there's love in every stitch and when I feel bad- that's the blanket I need :)
My Gran doesn't often pop up in my dreams, and my Nan's still around but I know that feeling of your dream exactly :)
Wow, this post has made me remember how many fantastic women I had and still have in my family, Thanks Dave :)
Man, I wish I'd caught what CT caught, that would have made a terrific blog post! Thanks again all for lovely comments. Some of them made me tear up ... Hello My Name Is Dave and I Cry
There's something about those blankets made by grandma, isn't there?
My grandma knit and crocheted all her life. Until the Alzheimer's set in. When she could tell her mind was slipping, she decided she wanted to crochet a blanket for each of us grandkids in our favorite color. She tried and tried, but after a lifetime of crocheting afghans, she couldn't remember how to do it anymore. She hated that she couldn't do something that should have been simple, and it embarrassed her to admit it. But it was really important to her that she leave us each with a blanket! So she went out and bought the materials, and paid someone else to crochet for her.
I was a teenager at the time, and my favorite color was, and still is, purple. Opposite of yours, the color was the only part of that blanket to come directly from my grandma to me. But, somehow, the fact that my grandma COULDN'T make it, but still DID make it, makes my purple blanket that much more of a treasure to me. Alzheimer's made the last years of her life difficult and painful. But so many of her last expressions were expressions of love. What better could you want to leave behind?
"It's made itself quite at home where it is, it even seems happy to be here."
Handmade things have a habit of doing that. So glad you were open to letting it.
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