Sunday, May 29, 2011

Spinning Memories

This weekend brings memories and honors not only for those who have fought and served in the military but for others who have paved the highway in various avenues and walks of lives.  Many will honor their family members with flower and flag laying on graves, with prayers of thanks for their dedication, while this blog post today will honor friends who provided quiet meanings to our lives.......nothing blaring about their 'common' everyday journey but a touch of sense and purpose to our otherwise mundane days.
This bag of carded green cotton comes from the garden of a dear departed friend, Jo, who gave us many happy times of sheer bliss--her whit, her personality, her joy of living.  During the last couple of years of her fragile life, Jo bought a sack of home grown cotton to our January spin-in.  She was distributing her worldly possessions so she could live in a smaller facility.  The green cotton had been hand ginned by Jo's paper thin fingers.  She was giving me one of her prized accumulations.  Reluctantly,  I took the green cotton and sent it off to be carded into sliver--promising to return the prepared fiber to her the following year; but come the following year, Jo was way to frail to even think about spinning again.
And now as we treadle and spin this special gift, memories flood back--memories of Jo--she was one of the original members of January spin-in when it begun over 23 years ago; when others were triumphantly declaring how much they spun during the event,  she always proclaimed the LEAST spun at our annual spin-in.  Memories of the time we travelled together to 1984 Dallas Convergence  and with a stop at a restroom, the pale look on her face when she emerged from the stall--she had just flushed one of her $50 dollar bills that had fallen from her money belt!  She thought it was loose paper on the floor but when it swished out of sight, she realized what it was...............but, she laughed it off and we continued on our road trip.
These might be cast-offs of debris that has fallen from the fiber, but each of these little specks brings a sense of Jo to my fingers as the cotton is spun, bobbin after bobbin.
And as the sliver is one continuous length, that was the way Jo's life was--continuous and ongoing with love and laughter.
This label might be faded from years of usage, but the memories of Dempsey are strong each time this tool of the trade is pulled out to be used.   The many tools he built with his hands; the wool from his sheep herd that laid on the bobbins always bring memories of days of yore and the times we had on his farm.  It never fails every year when the first two weekends of April roll around, that our thoughts travel to those days when we would drive the distance to meet with other spinners at Dempsey's farm.  It was here that we could pick out our sheep fleece 'on the hoof' and Dempsey would pull up the marked sheep and set his clippers to the wool--yes, this was ours!  His lovely wife, Brenda, would make her molasses cake (made from their homegrown sugar cane) and we would all gather under the pine trees with our wheels, visit, treadle away as we were serenaded by their musical friends. Dempsey's sense of building relationships was always there.  This was our common bond.
This time it is bobbins containing Jo's green cotton that are resting in the 'lazy kate' so two friends, who might have met once or twice or never, are reunited in this simple chore of plying.  And the memories can continue...................
As we ply Jo's green cotton with Dempsey's lazy kate, our memories tumble out and about us.

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