Sunday, January 18, 2009

Making 'keeping warm' a little, well...warmer

Today was a bit of a melancholy kind of day. The weather was cold and sometimes rainy...the K-man took his mom and uncle to a funeral (I'm still not really sure whose it was...isn't that terrible??), the boys were outside (yes, in the rain...but with umbrellas!) playing for part of the afternoon and me? I spent quite a bit of time sitting in my favorite chair, wrapped up in a wonderful piece of handmade comfort and remembered someone that I miss something terrible.

This quilt....lovingly handmade by my sister-in-law is a "working" memorial to my father, who passed away three years ago. This is "Grandpa Charles' Blanket".

As soon as the weather turns cool, it comes out of storage and is a permanent item in our living room. All of us have spent time under the warmth of that quilt at one time or another...and like Grandpa Charles himself, that quilt just "makes you feel good". (Koji's words!)

I was lucky enough to have two fathers I call my own. One, I was born to, the other, I was blessed with. Charles had been in my life since I was about 3 years old when he married my mom. We had a good that grew stronger, year by year. Oh, we had our problems (Hello! Teen-age years?!?), but....we all survived.

When Daddy passed away, my brothers and their wives and I had the job of going through the bulk of his stuff. Since he had just moved back to my hometown, he hadn't really unpacked all of the boxes and that made the job of sorting through things so much easier.

(This was Daddy and my cousin Vic. YeeHaw there cowboys!!)

Among all those boxes, we found a couple that were full of jeans. No...not Levi's...are you kidding? Daddy was a Wrangler man....and in those boxes were a few years worth of many jeans....all neatly folded....starched within an inch of their lives, because, well, that's the way you do your Wranglers in Texas, don't ya know?

Looking at all those jeans, we couldn't imagine what on earth we were going to do with them. Daddy, you see, used to be really thin. And his legs? Oh skinny. Looking at my brothers, we realized that they were never going to fit into them...and by the time my nephews got tall enough and big enough to wear them, well....we just didn't want to have to find someplace to store them. So, my sister-in-law took them....maybe she could find something to do with them.

And she did.

She and my mom ripped apart all those jeans, then she cut them into squares and with some beautiful pieces of flannel, she made quilts for my brothers and I. If you go back up to the top picture, you'll see that she put one red square at one corner and then three at the opposite corner....I am the oldest...I am 1 of 3.

I had no idea that she had done this....and two summers ago, when she gave it to me....I had no words that would formulate to tell her how much I loved her for making something so incredibly wonderful. I stood there with tears in my eyes and all I could say was "Oh!! Daddy's jeans!!"

If you look very closely, on most of the squares, you can see the creases that were made by years and years of being starched and pressed by the cleaners. Whenever I see those creases, I just smile, remembering all the razzing we used to give him about those jeans and how spoiled he was having them cleaned, starched and pressed every time they got dirty. But...that was Daddy. And without those creases, the quilt just wouldn't be the same.

In memory of Daddy Charles.

March, 1940-January, 2006

Daddy and me....March, 1995

I wish you all good memories and happy thoughts today.

May they make you smile.....and feel warm all over.


JO said...

Oh D, my goodness. What a beautiful tribute. Seriously. Thanks for allowing me to meet your Daddy through your eyes....

smalltownmom said...

What a wonderful thing to have. Cuddle up!

3rdEyeMuse said...

D, moved to tears, I am. what a beautiful post & what an all star of a SIL - so thoughtful & loving. *sigh*

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

That is really lovely--and your SIL is talented.

ms-teacher said...

that was a beautifully written post. How great for you to have such a wonderful influence in your life.

Nancy said...

A quilt of awesomeness.

A great memory of your Daddy and a SIL that has talents in her mind and with her heart and hands.

And now, your sons can cuddle up with a bit of Grandpa too!

Nice story Deb, thanks for sharing it.

Ginaagain said...

Oh my... those creases just make me want to cry and I can't even explain why. What a beautiful story.

Helena said...

What an amazing gift to be given in memory of your Dad!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful way to be warm inside and out. The memories warming your heart and the quilt warming your body. It is like being held and hugged by Daddy Charles. I shared of those memories with you. A special HUG to especially to you today and hugs to the guys. Shellie

Ms. Lea 李女士 said...

Thanks for sharing :-)

hulagirlatheart said...

What a great keepsake! How appropriate that she used the jeans.

When my grandma died my aunt took an old quilt of hers and made it into pillows for each of the grandkids. It's something I'll always treasure. Loved this post.

Karen MEG said...

Debbie, this post has touched me so unbelievably, you cannot imagine...

What a lovely, lovely quilt - your Daddy seemed like such a great man, and awesome cowboy :). Thanks for sharing this, and for your comments over at my place. Your words are really helping.


Janet said...

OMG Debbie...that's a beautiful quilt! And do you know, I had that exact same idea? Not with jeans, since Dad wasn't a big jeans guy, but with his plaid and flannel shirts and pjs. What a fantastic keepsake for you :-)